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LeBron James falls one rebound shy of triple-double in Cavs' 118-103 win over Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving celebrated being named Eastern Conference All-Star starters the only way they know how: They shined in the Cavs’ 118-103 victory Thursday against the Phoenix Suns.

James scored 21 points, matched his season-high with 15 assists and grabbed nine rebounds to fall one shy of a triple-double. Irving scored 26 points for the Cavs, who broke out of a shooting funk to beat the Suns for the second time in 11 days. They won for just the second time in their last five games.

The Cavs led by 21 late in the first half and were never really threatened by a Suns team with the worst record in the Western Conference.

James and Irving were named All-Star starters right around tip-off on a night Kevin Love missed the game with a sore back. Love was considered a game-time decision after he missed the second half of Monday’s blowout loss to Golden State. He didn’t believe he’d miss any time with it, but he didn’t participate in contact drills during Wednesday’s practice and then couldn’t make it through Thursday’s shootaround.

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving named All-Star starters

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were both elected Thursday to start the All-Star game for the Eastern Conference. It is James' 13th appearance (all starts) while Irving has made the team for the fourth time in his six seasons. 

James led all players in voting and will become the fifth player in NBA history to start at least 13 All-Star games, joining Kobe Bryant (18), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (14), Bob Cousy (13) and Michael Jordan (13). Irving, meanwhile, won the All-Star MVP award in 2014. 

James acknowledged it means more to be the top vote getter yet again. 

"I think from the standpoint of people enjoy the way I play the game, they respect the way I play the game and at this point in my career I'm still doing something right," James said. "Makes me proud, makes my family proud and my support system so it's cool in that sense."

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Kevin Love will not play vs. Suns, James Jones to start in his place

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love will not play Thursday when the Cavs host the Phoenix Suns, coach Tyronn Lue said. James Jones will start in his place.

Love did not play in the second half of Monday’s blowout loss at Golden State because of tightness in his lower back. He didn’t believe it was serious and said after the game he didn’t believe he’d miss any time.

“He came in from trying to do half of the activities yesterday and today he couldn’t get through shootaround,” Lue said Thursday. “We have to sit him out.”

This will mark Jones' first start in nearly two years. Lue said he considered starting Kyle Korver and shifting LeBron James to power forward, but settled on the little-used Jones. 

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Kevin Love considered questionable for Thursday's game against Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 18, 2017

INDEPENDENCE: Kevin Love did not participate in any contact portion of practice Wednesday and is considered questionable for Thursday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

Love sat the second half of Sunday’s blowout loss at Golden State because of tightness in his lower back. Love said it wasn’t serious and he didn’t expect to miss any time, but the Cavs have been conservative even with minor ailments this season. Love’s back has given him trouble before.

“He only went through half the practice,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Not sure how he’s going to feel tomorrow.”

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Warriors 126, Cavs 91: Jason Lloyd's 28 thoughts on blood, beatdowns and rivalries

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 17, 2017

OAKLAND, CALIF.: Twenty-eight thoughts for 28 defensive rebounds in Monday’s 126-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors…

1.     The stream of blood randomly trickled out of Tristan Thompson’s shirtless chest in the locker room well after the storm. LeBron James noticed it and pointed it out to Thompson, who took a Kleenex and dabbed it away. And so here is where it will lie until June. Each team has been cut, each team has bled this season at the hands of the other. It’s how it should be.

2.     Now we wait.

3.     The Cavs were blitzed off the floor in the opening minutes Monday and never recovered, suffering their most lopsided loss of the season to the team that also handed them their worst defeat last season with another Martin Luther King Day belting. As dreary as things seemed then, after the Warriors crushed them by 34 at the Q, we know how the rest of those chapters were written.

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Warriors exact revenge, blitz Cavs 126-91 to end four-game skid in this series

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2017

OAKLAND, CALIF.: There was no dramatic comeback this time, no taunts of 3-1 comebacks and no jabs over blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. This time the Golden State Warriors punished the Cavaliers from start to finish with a convincing 126-91 beatdown on Martin Luther King day that included another memorable confrontation between LeBron James and Draymond Green.

The Warriors blitzed the Cavs in transition, outscoring them 37-13 in fast-break points. They built a double-digit lead just eight minutes into the game and piled on the rest of the night, expanding the lead to 39 in the fourth quarter. The Cavs stumbled through a miserable time shooting and continued an ongoing problem of not moving the ball enough and committing too many turnovers. They ended the night with 15 turnovers and only 11 assists.

Kyrie Irving, the hero in last season’s Finals and again on Christmas Day, struggled badly. He scored 17 points while committing six turnovers and shooting just 6-of-19. He sat most of the first quarter with foul trouble and never discovered his rhythm. By the time he returned for the start of the second, the deficit was already 15.  

Draymond Green and Steph Curry, meanwhile, were terrific. Green scored 11 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and passed for 11 assists. He finished with a plus/minus of plus-42, while James was a minus-32.

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Cavs 120, Kings 108; Jason Lloyd's 17 thoughts on Shumpert, Korver and good looks

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 14, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Seventeen thoughts for 17 free throws in Friday’s 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings…

1.     The day the Cavs made the trade to acquire Kyle Korver, coach Tyronn Lue texted his new shooter to tell him how excited he was. Lue had volumes of plays he has been sitting on, plays he watched Doc Rivers run in Boston and Los Angeles for shooters like Ray Allen and J.J. Redick, because the Cavs didn’t have the personnel to fit them. Now they do.

2.     Korver made six straight shots and scored 18 points off the bench Friday. He played the entire second quarter and all but the final 45 seconds of the fourth as Lue continues to tinker with the right lineups around him. He wants to use LeBron James to run the second unit. For at least one night, it worked great.

3.     Perhaps it only took one shootaround for Korver to start to feel more comfortable in his surroundings. He said Friday’s morning walkthrough was longer than most shootarounds. The second unit spent about 20 minutes together on the floor, Korver estimated, just running through potential plays. Then he retreated to his hotel and watched film with the coaches to try and get acclimated to the system. Just imagine how comfortable he’ll be after his first practice, which comes Sunday in San Francisco.

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Kyle Korver breaks out in Cavs' 120-108 win over Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 14, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Kyle Korver only needed one shootaround session to get a little more acclimated to the Cavaliers’ system. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has more in store for him, too.

Korver scored 18 points off the bench, including shooting 4-of-6 on 3-pointers in Friday’s 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings to end a brief two-game losing streak.

Korver missed his first two shots Friday, then made seven of his next eight after struggling in his first two games in part because he didn’t have any instructional time during back-to-back losses against Utah and Portland.

Lue used Friday’s shootaround to shuffle his starting lineup, juggle his rotation and begin installing plays for Korver. The results were evident immediately. LeBron James had 16 points and 15 assists, Kevin Love scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 26 points in the win.

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LeBron will have to be patient; Cavs GM David Griffin says trade market for point guards still murky

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: LeBron James will have to be patient. Despite James’ calls for the Cavaliers to add a point guard, General Manager David Griffin said Friday the market is thin because so many teams still believe they’re playoff contenders.

“It’s very difficult right now to make trades,” Griffin said in his first public comments since the Cavs obtained Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks. “There’s so many teams that are still in it in both conferences in terms of those final playoff spots, that they’re really aren’t teams that identify themselves as sellers right now. And the teams that are identified as sellers probably didn’t have what fit us real well, so I think there are far fewer opportunities right now to make trades than there have been in the past for our team, just in terms of fit. So hopefully that picture clears itself up a little bit by trade deadline.”

There are seven teams in the East contending for the last four playoff spots that are separated by three games. There are four teams in the West fighting for the last spot separated by 1 1/2 games. Add it all together and there are only eight teams – the 76ers, Heat, Nets, Lakers, Timberwolves, Mavericks and Suns – who today are out of playoff contention. And with the season reaching the halfway point, there is still time for even some of them to climb back in the race.

Griffin left open the possibility of waiting until after the trade deadline, when the buyout market begins, to add a veteran piece. But the trade he executed with Portland last week in flipping draft picks opened up his 2021 first-round pick to use in a trade if the market clears.

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Iman Shumpert to start for Cavs, DeAndre Liggins off the bench vs. Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Iman Shumpert will replace DeAndre Liggins in the starting lineup Friday when the Cavaliers host the Sacramento Kings, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

Lue has resisted moving Shumpert into the starting lineup for weeks because he insisted he wanted his production off the bench, but the recent addition of Kyle Korver has given Lue more punch in his bench scoring.

“Just playing with the starters, I think Shump played a lot better,” Lue said. “That’s what he was accustomed to doing. He’s been trying to come in and help carry the second unit. It’s tough on him.”

Shumpert has been mired in a deep shooting slump since getting off to a hot start from 3-point range. He shot 48 percent from 3-point range through his first 21 games, but has been at 24 percent in his last 16 games in a slump that dates back to Dec. 13. Shumpert is averaging 6.9 points and shooting 37 percent from deep overall.

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