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The Golden State Warriors may get most of the attention for their perimeter prowess, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have also established themselves as one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in NBA history. While the Warriors have assaulted the three-point section of the record books, the Cavs hold their fair share of records, too, including the most threes in a single playoff game and the most threes in consecutive playoff games. Like Golden State, this team that can explode at any moment.
The Portland Trail Blazers found that out the hard way in Wednesday night’s game against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Kevin Love made eight threes for 34 points in the first quarter alone, setting a record for opening-period scoring and nearly topping a few more NBA records in the process:
Instead, Love had to settle for the finishing second to Warriors star Klay Thompson for the second-most threes and points in a single quarter in NBA history. Thompson made nine threes and scored 37 points in the third quarter of a game against the Sacramento Kings in January 2015, just above the Cleveland forward’s totals. Love had previously made eight threes in just two of his 528 career games. His 34 points also matched his previous high in his 164 games with the Cavaliers.
Klay Thompson's 37-point quarter: 13-13 overall, 9-9 on 3s, 2-2 on FTs
Kevin Love's 34-point quarter: 11-14 overall, 8-10 on 3s, 4-4 on FTs
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 24, 2016
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The Cavs weren’t half-bad as a team, either, putting 46 points for the highest-scoring first quarter in NBA history, the highest-scoring quarter in Cavs history, and the second highest-scoring quarter the league has ever seen. Cleveland shot 15-of-22 from the field, 10-of-13 from beyond the arc, and 6-of-8 from the three-throw line. It goes without saying that none of these said much about a Blazers defense that entered the night allowing the second-most points per 100 possession in the NBA. They should plan on ending the night with the league’s worst defensive efficiency.
Kevin Love's first quarter shot chart will catch fire to anyone looking at it by sheer proximity pic.twitter.com/grYZ2nNSP9
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 24, 2016
Cleveland cooled off a little in the second quarter, but they still set a record with six more three-pointers for 16 in the half, one more than the Warriors put up on two occasions during the 2015-16 season. Channing Frye accounted for four of those makes, which seems to indicate that the Blazers should work on defending big men on the perimeter.
The second half was a little more normal — the Blazers actually out-scored the Cavs 65-56 as Damian Lillard finished with 40 points (13-of-21 FG, 5-of-7 3FG, 9-of-9 FT) and 11 assists. Portland’s offense was actually quite good all night, shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 13-of-29 from deep with only nine turnovers.
Yet there was no question which team held the upper hand all night in the Cavs’ 137-125 win. Cleveland finished with 21-of-36 on threes and never looked in serious danger. Love only scored six points after the first to finish with 40 in 32 minutes, but LeBron James added plenty more for a 31-point, 13-assist, and 10-rebound triple-double.
The Cavs’ 137 points set a new high for this NBA season, besting the 133 points the Warriors scored against the Phoenix Suns on November 13. Perhaps Cleveland will take a few more records from Golden State before season’s end.
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