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Cavs 125, Nuggets 109; Jason Lloyd's 16 thoughts on Derrick Williams, big lineups and experiments

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 12, 2017

CLEVELAND: Sixteen thoughts for 16 points from Kevin Love in Saturday’s 125-109 win over the Denver Nuggets…

1.     In the strange twists and turns an NBA season can take, Derrick Williams concedes now he is a bit surprised to be here. In order for that to happen, he had to clear waivers. Before he approached the Miami Heat and asked for his release, his agent, Rob Pelinka, warned he was taking a big risk.

2.     Teams with cap space such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Saturday’s opponent, the Denver Nuggets, could’ve claimed him. But Williams struggled with the Heat and fell out of the rotation, not to mention the $4.6 million cap hit he would’ve cost a team that claimed him. So he passed through unclaimed by 29 other teams.

3.     “I took that as a little disrespectful,” the former No. 2 overall pick told the Beacon Journal. “I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder now.”

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LeBron, Kyrie Irving each score 27 and Cavs handle Nuggets 125-109

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 11, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James had to return to play nine minutes in the fourth quarter of a game the Cavs once led by 22. It isn’t ideal, but the Cavs still handled the Denver Nuggets somewhat effectively in a 125-109 victory Saturday.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 27 points and Kevin Love scored 16 for the Cavs, who have won five of their last six and beat a Nuggets team playing the second night of a back-to-back and their third in four nights – all on the road. It was a schedule loss for the Nuggets both on and off the floor.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds one night after he scored 40 at Madison Square Garden in a Denver victory. Gary Harris scored 16 points and Jamal Murray scored 16 off the bench for the Nuggets.

The somewhat easy victory allowed coach Tyronn Lue to get James off the floor after 32 minutes – a relative victory given the heavy load he has carried in recent weeks. James’ minutes have been up all season and they’ve only increased lately – he played more than 40 in Thursday’s loss at Oklahoma City.

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Thunder 118, Cavs 109; Jason Lloyd's 18 thoughts on regrets, Vegas lines and Derrick Williams' debut

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 10, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY: Eighteen thoughts for 18 shots from Kyrie Irving in Thursday’s 118-109 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder…

1.     Tyronn Lue changed his mind and played all of his stars after all. And they lost anyway. It stands to reason Lue might regret playing LeBron James 41 minutes on a night he was originally supposed to rest and then the team lost anyway, but Lue insists that isn’t the case.

2.     “I thought it was good to go through something tough,” he said. “It was a tough game for us, four games in six nights and it was just good to fight through, not give in. I like how we competed. They played better and they won tonight.”

3.     Vegas oddsmakers can’t be happy with the Cavs. The line on this game fluctuated wildly over 24 hours after Lue announced he would “probably” rest his starters. The Thunder were 11-point favorites by the time Lue said all three of his stars were playing before the game. The Cavs were favored again by tip-off.

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Stars play anyway, but Cavs still fall 118-109 to Thunder in Derrick Williams' debut

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 9, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY: The stars all played anyway, but it didn’t matter. The schedule and the turnovers combined to end the Cavaliers’ four-game winning streak.

Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and Kevin Love had 15 points and 12 rebounds, but the Cavs lost Thursday 118-109 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, just their second loss in their last eight games. LeBron James had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds and Derrick Williams scored 12 points off the bench in his debut.

After initially announcing that James, Irving and Love would all probably sit out the final game of this road trip, coach Tyronn Lue reconsidered and played all three stars.

“Nothing changed,” Lue said prior to the game. “I wanted to see how the guys felt and they feel pretty good. We’re playing some pretty good basketball right now and they just want to keep it rolling. So all three guys say they feel pretty good, and we got a good thing going so why not keep it going?”

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love will all play vs. Thunder; Derrick Williams signs 10-day deal

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 9, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY: After further review, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are all expected to play Thursday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Also available is Derrick Williams, who was signed to a 10-day contract earlier in the day.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said after Wednesday’s win at Indiana that he was probably going to rest all of the Cavs’ stars against the Thunder, but he eventually changed his mind.

“Nothing changed, I said I wanted to see how the guys felt and they felt pretty good,” Lue said. “We’re playing some pretty good basketball right now and they just want to keep it rolling. Soall three guys say they feel pretty good, and we got a good thing going so why not keep it going?”

The Cavs have won four straight and six of their last seven.

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Cavs 132, Pacers 117; Jason Lloyd's 25 thoughts on Korver's role, resting stars and defense

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 9, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS: Twenty-five thoughts for 25 points from LeBron James in Wednesday’s 132-117 win over the Indiana Pacers…

1.     After spending a few weeks struggling to find a happy compromise with Kyle Korver and the Cavs’ offense, the two sides finally seem to have reached an agreement.

2.     When Korver enters in the second quarter with the team’s second unit, there are opportunities for more motion sets and chances to run him off screens, something he has become accustomed to doing throughout most of his career in the NBA. But when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love return, Korver becomes more of a standstill shooter.

3.     The result was ideal Wednesday when Korver scored 29 points and made 8-of-9 3-pointers – both on the run and standing still – in his best game in a Cavs uniform. He finished two points shy of his career high.

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Cavs' Kyrie Irving grudgingly returning to Skirvin after bed bug incident last season

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS: Kyrie Irving may not play Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but that’s not enough to get him out of his least favorite hotel on the NBA circuit.

Irving and the Cavaliers are going back to the Skirvin Hilton, their first trip back to the hotel since Irving had a bad bout with bed bugs during the team’s trip to Oklahoma City last year. Irving moved to the couch on his room because of it and said he barely slept. He left the game for good after just nine minutes against the Thunder.

Asked Wednesday after the Cavs’ win 132-117 win against the Indiana Pacers if he was going back to the Skirvin, Irving told the Beacon Journal “unfortunately, yeah.”

The Cavs have made alternative travel plans for players previously this season, booking a separate hotel for those who did not want to stay at Trump SoHo during the team’s two trips to New York. Irving considered alternatives for Oklahoma City before relenting.

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love likely to miss Thursday's game at Thunder to rest

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS: LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are all likely to miss the Cavs’ game at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. Coach Tyronn Lue said after the Cavs’ 132-117 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday that he is leaning toward sitting all of them since it is the fourth game in six nights and comes at the end of a week-long road trip.

“I’m not sure yet. It’s a good possibility,” Lue said. “We’ll see how the guys feel. When we’re playing good like this, guys might want to play. We’ll just see how they feel.”

James has missed three games this season, the most recent being Dec. 26 at Detroit. Lue caused a stir in December when he left James, Irving and Love at home for the team’s only trip this season to Memphis. Likewise, this is the Cavs’ only trip of the year to Oklahoma City. Thursday's game is also a national television broadcast on TNT.

The Cavs have won four straight to begin February after concluding a miserable January, but James doesn’t believe taking one game off will disrupt their momentum.

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LeBron James, Cavs not ready to decrease his heavy minutes

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS: The original plan regarding LeBron James’ minutes appears to have been postponed. He isn’t showing any signs of resting more anytime soon.

James’ minutes were supposed to start tapering off near the end of January or beginning of February, yet he’s averaged 39.8 over his last nine games. He has dropped from the league leader in minutes played to second, however, behind Kyle Lowry. At 32, James is averaging 37.6 minutes per game this season, his highest number since returning to Cleveland.

“He’s being bull-headed about it,” Lue said Wednesday. “He doesn’t want to back down because he says he’s in a good rhythm right now.”

James said the minutes discussion is a “two-way street” with Lue and even referred to their relationship as a marriage, but made it clear he doesn’t believe he needs to slow down.

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Iman Shumpert out vs. Pacers, LeBron could sit Thursday at Thunder

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS: Iman Shumpert will not play tonight against the Indiana Pacers because of a sprained left ankle, but LeBron James will play despite the Cavs being in the midst of three games in four nights.

Coach Tyronn Lue, however, said it’s likely James will rest tomorrow at Oklahoma City if his minutes are in the high 30s or low 40s again.

Shumpert was off crutches and out of the walking boot Wednesday morning. He was even on the court taking shots, although Lue said he was supposed to be resting.  

DeAndre Liggins will start tonight at shooting guard for the Cavs. The Pacers have won seven straight.

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