After a disappointing start, the Cleveland Cavaliers can currently lay claim to the title of Hottest Team in the NBA. (Sorry, Atlanta, but one loss ruined your status — these are the breaks.) The Cavs entered Thursday's home tilt vs. the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on an 11-game winning streak, the longest active run in the league and perhaps a sign that the team is beginning to become the Eastern Conference favorite they seemed to be in the offseason.
The game turned out to be a new peak for the Cavaliers. They took charge early, winning the first quarter 30-20 and building a 23-point halftime lead. That margin got as high as 32 in the third quarter, and the final score of 105-94 was only that close because the Clippers' reserves took the final period 31-11.
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Cleveland wasn't only impressive because of the score — they won with plenty of style. The first half in particular looked like a long-form highlight reel. The top play was likely center Timofey Mozgov finding a cutting LeBron James for a pretty slam:
But there was also Mozgov dribbling through the lane for his own dunk:
Plus LeBron throwing down with two hands:
If alley-oops are more your thing, the Cavs obliged with this pretty one from Kyrie Irving to James:
The dunk party got so out of hand that LeBron even found the time to dunk well after a foul. He didn't get the continuation, but he sure made a strong point:
It wasn't a very happy game for the Clippers, who racked up five technical fouls over the course of the night and four in the third quarter alone. Two of those were issued to Matt Barnes, who was ejected midway through the third after protesting his first T to the referees.
Highlights aside, the individual stats for the Cavs' key players are all quite impressive. James led the way with 23 points (8-of-14 FG) and nine assists in just 28 minutes, while Kevin Love added a team-high 24 with nine boards. All five starters scored in double figures, and the team's overall stats (43.1 percent shooting, 18 turnovers) only look iffy because the fourth quarter didn't really matter.
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