The Cleveland Cavaliers looked to get out of their funk following a loss to the Atlanta Hawks yesterday afternoon. The task was gonna be tough as MVP leading candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo came to downtown Cleveland. Just as predicted it was a true battle between stars as Giannis went for 40 points on 76% shooting. He looked every bit as dominant tonight as he’s looked all season. However, on the other side there was a star as well, LeBron James.
The King did what he usually does, and that is filling the stat sheet. LeBron went for 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. Unlike all the other games this year where LeBron did well, he got some help. This coming from Kevin Love, who looked more like he did in his Timberwolves days. Love posted a stat like of 32 and 16 on over 60% from the field. In the post game press conference Ty Lue stated that it was in the game plan to go early and often to Kevin Love, as he could post up on the much skinnier players such as Giannis and Henson. Another player that chipped in was the streaky shooter, JR Smith. It has been well documented how much Smith has struggled this season, but tonight he came out on fire. He finished the game with a season high 20 points on 5/7 shooting from behind the three point line. This was a game of back an forth as early on it looked as though the Cavaliers have had enough of their defense being questioned, as they came out with a lot more energy than in previous games. Their switches, physicality, and overall effort were on display.
They went up early ending the first quarter in the lead, 39-28. However, the Bucks stormed back against the Cavs second unit and took a 67-65 lead into the locker room at halftime. From there on out it was a tight contest. Neither team, nor star looked to back down. On this night, the Cavs wouldn’t be denied as the momentum swung in their favor late in the fourth quarter. Giannis picked up his sixth and final foul with 18 seconds left, but the game was already done. The Cavaliers won 124-117, moving their season record to 5-6. There is a lot more to be desired with this team, especially on the defensive end. Post game on the court, Dwyane Wade told fans in an interview over the PA that he was sorry for the teams slow start, but that they “are getting better”. We’ll have to see how much better they get as their next game is against a strong Houston Rockets team and their MVP candidate James Harden on Thursday.