As dominant as the Cleveland Cavaliers have been at home, they would like to show they can be just as dangerous on the road.
Looking to avoid a third straight loss away from home, the Cavaliers begin a road heavy stretch in their schedule when they meet the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Cleveland (29-6) has the best record in the Eastern Conference and now looks to become the NBA’s fourth team to reach 30 wins, joining Boston, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Cavaliers begin this stretch of six road games in their next seven contests after a 98-83 win over the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics on Friday, improving to 19-0 at home.
“Tonight I think we got better,” said LeBron James, who scored 38 points. “We don’t want to take a step back because we got a big picture and a big goal. You don’t want to waste a game. We got really better tonight.”
Cleveland, allowing a league-low 89.0 points per game, has held its last three opponents to an average of 81.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting. However, in four of their six road losses, the Cavaliers have given up more than 95 points.
They’ve lost at Miami and Washington in their last two road games, but have a chance to get off to a good start on this stretch with matchups against two teams with losing records - Memphis and Chicago. After a home game against the New Orleans Hornets, the Cavs go back on the road to face the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland, Golden State and Utah, with the Warriors being the only team in that span with a record below .500.
Cleveland has won five straight over Memphis (11-26), which has lost three in a row and 11 of 13. The Grizzlies lost 103-82 to Toronto on Saturday - the fifth time in six games they’ve been held below 90 points.
The Grizzlies hope to have leading scorer O.J. Mayo available after the rookie was forced to the bench in the loss after he was kneed in the left hip during the first quarter. He finished with 11 points in 33 minutes.
“It was pretty much nagging me throughout the game,” said Mayo, who is averaging 19.7 points. “It probably would have been best to just sit out but I tried to fight through it. That side was pretty sore. You really don’t know how much you need it until it happens to be injured. It kind of kept me back a little bit.”
While their record has done little to draw much attention to the Grizzlies, they did make news over the weekend after signing Darius Miles to a 10-day contract. Miles had been waived by the Grizzlies last Wednesday. If he plays in two more games, Portland will have to pay the $18 million left on his contract, which had led the Trail Blazers to threaten legal action if teams signed the forward to hurt them financially.
The Grizzlies say that isn’t the case.
“Our young team is short on front court players and could use a veteran with his attitude,” general manager Chris Wallace said.
The Grizzlies’ last win over the Cavs was a 113-106 home victory on Nov. 5, 2005.