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Andrew Wiggins scores career-high 33 points, but Cavs beat Wolves 106-90 in Kevin Love's return

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 31, 2015
James, LeBron dribbles with Wiggins defending

MINNEAPOLIS: LeBron James outdueled Andrew Wiggins and the Cavaliers escaped Target Center with a 106-90 victory in Kevin Love’s first game back in Minnesota. But it didn’t come easy.

James scored 36 points, including 13 straight for the Cavs in the fourth quarter for their 10th consecutive victory. Wiggins scored a career-high 33 in his second-ever game against the team that drafted him.

Love, meanwhile, had 14 points and 17 rebounds while shooting 6-for-14. Love entered Target Center expecting to be booed and he was. Yet by the middle of the first quarter he was receiving a standing ovation.

When the Wolves honored him with a brief tribute during the first quarter, the boos turned to cheers at the mention of Love’s charity work. He even acknowledged the crowd while receiving a standing ovation by most in attendance, although a vocal minority continued to boo.

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Wolves coach Flip Saunders upset by video poking fun at Kevin Love; also Love pregame interview video

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 31, 2015
Saunders, Flip

 

MINNEAPOLIS: Flip Saunders was upset by the video the Timberwolves made to poke fun at Kevin Love’s return to Minnesota on Saturday. Saunders, the head coach, part owner and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves, said he didn’t know about the video until after it was released.

MORE: Here is my Sunday column on Kevin Love and it being the right call for the Cavs to make.

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Pregame: Cavs at Timberwolves

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 31, 2015
Wiggins, Andrew

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Target Center

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Timberwolves - Mo Williams (hip) questionable; Zach LaVine (ankle) questionable; Ricky Rubio (out) ankle; Shabazz Muhammad (hip) out; Robbie Hummel (hand) out.

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Cavs 101, Kings 90; Jason Lloyd's 23 thoughts on Kevin Love's big night and his bigger night ahead

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 31, 2015
Love, Kevin dribbles baseline vs Kings

CLEVELAND: Twenty-three thoughts for 23 points from Kevin Love in a 101-90 win over the Kings on a night when the attention shifts to Love and Minnesota…

1. Kevin Love needed this. He may not come right out and say it, but he surely didn’t want to head back to Minnesota shooting 34 percent and 27 percent from the 3-point line. Those were his percentages over his last eight games, when he averaged four baskets and 13.3 points.

The game story is here.

2. His numbers in his last two games were even worse: 23 percent from the floor, 19 percent from 3-point range and he missed the last 11 shots he took in Wednesday’s win against the Blazers.

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LeBron James surprise starter, Cavs beat Kings 101-90 for longest winning streak in nearly 5 years

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2015
Irving, Kyre loses ball vs Kings

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds, including 16 points in the first quarter, and the Cavaliers beat the Sacramento Kings 101-90 Friday night for their ninth consecutive victory and their longest winning streak in nearly five years.

LeBron James had 19 points and seven assists after he was announced as a surprise starter 45 minutes before the game. Guard Kyrie Irving finished with 21 points and six assists one game after he scored 55 points Wednesday against the Blazers, the most any player has scored in the NBA this season.

James was considered doubtful with a sprained wrist. He already missed one game with the injury and was a limited participant at shootaround Friday morning, but the Cavs weren’t planning on him being available. He started slowly, but finished 7 of 16 shooting and added three assists despite looking tentative at times with the wrist.

The Cavs led by as many as 16 in the first half and 21 entering the fourth quarter on a night they were never really challenged by the Kings, who have lost their last eight games. Sacramento’s last win was against Cleveland on Jan. 11 at home, but these two teams have been trending in opposite directions ever since.

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LeBron James surprise starter tonight vs. Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2015
James, LeBron alone horizontal

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James will start tonight after missing one game with a sprained right wrist. James attended shootaround Friday morning in a limited capacity and was still characterized as doubtful following the morning workout. But he arrived at the arena tonight ready to play.

James missed one game after he injured the wrist in Tuesday's win at the Detroit Pistons. James previously missed the only other game against the Kings this season, which resulted in a 19-point loss on Jan. 11 at Sacramento. The Kings haven't won since, having lost their last seven games.

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Pregame: Kings at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2015
Cousins, DeMarcus

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Target Center

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Timberwolves - Mo Williams (hip) questionable; Zach LaVine (ankle) questionable; Ricky Rubio (out) ankle; Shabazz Muhammad (hip) out; Robbie Hummel (hand) out.

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Kevin Love calls Timberwolves video 'hilarious,' endorses Korver for All-Star team

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2015
Love, Kevin ball over head vs Bulls

INDEPENDENCE: Kevin Love thought the Minnesota Timberwolves’ latest marketing video marking his return was “hilarious” and said he wasn’t offended by it. He also expects to be booed loudly when he makes his return to Minneapolis on Saturday.

“Tomorrow will be one of those times where they’ll have the chance to tell me how they really feel,” Love said.

Love forced his way out of Minnesota with a year left on his contract when he made it clear he wasn’t interested in signing an extension. He has been complimentary of the Timberwolves and their fans at every opportunity, yet still enjoyed the video the team released Thursday that celebrated “the return of Mike Miller” to Minneapolis and never mentioned Love, who ranks third on the Timberwolves’ all-time scoring list and is scattered across the top 10 in most of their all-time categories.

With the Cavs preparing to play the Sacramento Kings on Friday, Love said he hasn’t spent much time yet thinking about his return. All of that will change tonight when he boards the team charter after the game.

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Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving named an All-Star, Kevin Love left out

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2015
Irving, Kyrie All-Star MVP

Kyrie Irving’s memorable week continued Thursday when he was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a reserve, giving the Cavaliers two representatives for the first time since 2009.

Irving’s inclusion comes one day after his career-high 55 points in a win against the Blazers, which came after Irving matched his then-season high with 38 points in a win Tuesday at the Detroit Pistons.

That means Irving has scored 93 points and made his third All-Star team in the last three days. But his terrific week did not impact All-Star voting. Coaches vote on the reserves and ballots were due Tuesday afternoon, well before the scoring eruption.

“If you look at the body of work he’s given this year,” Cavs coach David Blatt said, “you’ve seen a pretty great year from one of the premiere point guards in the NBA.”

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Video: Timberwolves take jab at Kevin Love in advance of his return to Minneapolis this weekend

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2015

The Minnesota Timberwolves released a video promoting the Cavs' only appearance at Target Center this season. See it for yourself.

 

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Cavs 99, Blazers 94: Jason Lloyd's 36 final thoughts on Kyrie Irving's historic night

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2015
Shotchart_1422513510844

CLEVELAND: Thirty-six thoughts for 36 shots from Kyrie Irving in a 99-94 win over the Blazers on a historic night at Quicken Loans Arena…

1. The last time the Cavs played the Portland Trail Blazers, LeBron James sat in the locker room at Moda Center talking about the bad habits his young teammates needed to break. On Wednesday he was at center court leaping in the air, celebrating Kyrie Irving’s incredible night.

2. It took at least four water bottles and an ice bucket to cool off Irving in the Cavs’ locker room. Tristan Thompson posted a short video to his Instagram account depicting the celebration.

3. James called the players together in a huddle with Irving in the center. Then at least four teammates doused him with water bottles and someone even picked up an ice bucket and dumped it on Irving. It was the only way to put out the fire.

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Kyrie Irving scores career high 55 points, Cavs beat Blazers without LeBron James 99-94

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2015

CLEVELAND – Kyrie Irving scored 55 points, the highest scoring night in the NBA this season, and the Cavaliers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94 Wednesday despite not having LeBron James.

James missed the game with a sprained right wrist that is also expected to keep him out of Friday’s home game against the Sacramento Kings. The Cavs’ star point guard dazzled in James’ absence, scoring 14 consecutive points and 24 of their last 28 while setting a franchise record for 3-pointers in a game (11) and setting a new Quicken Loans Arena scoring record. The Cavs won their eighth straight to match their longest winning streak of the season.

Irving also scored a then-season high 38 points in Tuesday’s win at Detroit, meaning he totaled 93 points and shot 17 of 29 on 3-pointers in the last two days.

Irving won it with a 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left. With the game tied at 94, Irving walked the ball down the floor and shot it over a much taller Nic Batum, who was defenseless to stop it.

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LeBron James will not play against Blazers because of sprained wrist, doubtful for Friday

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2015

CLEVELAND: LeBron James will miss Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers with a sprained wrist and is considered doubtful for Friday, the team announced.

James had an MRI Wednesday that revealed the wrist injury.

James took a hard fall during Tuesday’s win at the Detroit Pistons late in the third quarter and seemed to injure both wrists. He left the game briefly, but returned for the start of the fourth quarter and didn’t seem to think after the game the injury was serious.

“I finished the game so I’m OK,” James said Tuesday night.

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Kyrie Irving, Cavs thriving since last meeting with Trail Blazers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2015
Irving and LeBron

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: When the Cavaliers were last with the Portland Trail Blazers, Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving were dribbling dents in the floor of Moda Center while LeBron James stood motionless on the court.

James wasn’t engaged, the younger players weren’t sharing the ball or defending well and the result was a 19-point loss in the third game of the season that left James shaking his head at the bad habits that needed broken.

ESPN reported a verbal exchange between James and Irving after the game and Irving was told unequivocally the next day by coach David Blatt to get James and Kevin Love their shots first before looking for his own.

Now nearly three months later, James is thrilled at the Cavs' progress. Waiters is in Oklahoma City, Irving has conceded the bulk of the ball-handling duties to James and the Cavs are thriving. They have the chance to tie their longest winning streak of the season and match their longest in four years, with a win tonight over the Blazers.

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Pregame: Blazers at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2015
Aldridge, LaMarcus from behind

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Blazers - Nic Batum (wrist) questionable, Joel Freeland (shoulder) out, Robin Lopez (hand) out. 

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Cavs 103, Pistons 95; Jason Lloyd's 17 final thoughts following Cavs' seventh-straight win

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2015
Michaels, Bret halftime concert

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: Seventeen thoughts for 17 free throw attempts in a 103-95 win over the Pistons on Tuesday…

1. Since last Monday’s win against the Chicago Bulls, the Cavs are holding opponents to 40.2 percent shooting. That’s third-best in the league behind the Wizards and Hornets. They’re holding opponents to 93.8 points, which ranks eighth and their plus/minus of plus-17 is third behind only the Warriors and Clippers.

2. In short, the Cavs have it rolling. We know this because they’re rolling even on nights when they’re not rolling. Like Tuesday.

3. Forget about the 103 points. The Cavs did not play well offensively. They only broke 100 for the eighth straight game because they scored 10 points from the free-throw line in the final minute when the Pistons resorted to fouling. Otherwise they shot 42 percent and missed a ton of open looks. Big deal. It happens.

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Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combine for 70 points in 103-95 victory against Pistons

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 27, 2015
Irving, LeBron defend Augustin

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: The last time the Detroit Pistons saw these Cavaliers, they were getting booed off their home floor following a miserable collapse in one of the worst losses of the season.

Two trades and three new faces later, there were no such problems in Tuesday’s 103-95 victory against the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Cavs’ new-found defensive intensity continued, Kyrie Irving matched his season high in scoring and the Cavs won their seventh straight. They also eradicated any lingering scars from that 103-80 home debacle in late December against these same Pistons.

“We’re a different team,” coach David Blatt said. “And it shows in our play.”

Irving scored 38 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, and James had 32 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Irving’s big 3-pointer with 1:05 left extended the Cavs’ lead to 93-83.

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Pregame: Pistons at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 27, 2015
Drummond, Andre hands behind his head

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Palace of Auburn Hills

TV: NBA TV/Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Pistons - Brandon Jennings (Achilles) out.

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LeBron James wins league's weekly honor for third time this season

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2015

LeBron James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season.

James averaged 27.8 points, 6.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds in guiding the Cavs to a 4-0 record. He has averaged 30.3 points in seven games since returning from knee and back injuries and his 26.2 points this season ranks second in the league behind Houston’s James Harden (27.6).

Golden State’s Klay Thompson won the award in the West after setting an NBA record by scoring 37 points in the third quarter of Friday’s win over the Sacramento Kings. 

James and Thompson, incidentally, are the only players to win the award more than twice this season. They've each won it three times. James continues to add to his NBA record by winning for the 48th time in his career.

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Cavs 108, Thunder 98: Jason Lloyd's 13 final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2015
James and KD

CLEVELAND: Thirteen thoughts for 13 rebounds from Kevin Love in an impressive 108-98 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder…

1. LeBron James began the day seventh in the league in Player Efficiency Rating, or PER, which combines all of a player’s statistics into one number. He’s second in the league in scoring and his team can’t win when he doesn’t play.

2. So why, exactly, is he never mentioned in the MVP race?

3. It’s striking to me how little consideration James is receiving when discussing the top candidates this season. The Cavs are 24-12 when he plays and 1-8 when he doesn’t. If the definition of the MVP award is a player’s value to his team, I’m not sure how much more proof is necessary. That .667 winning percentage when he plays matches the Wizards’ winning percentage this season – and they’re ranked second in the East.

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LeBron James scores 34, Cavs win sixth straight with 108-98 victory against Thunder

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 25, 2015
Durant, Kevin loses ball Mozgov guarding

CLEVELAND – LeBron James outdueled Thunder forward Kevin Durant in the only battle this season between the two most recent Most Valuable Players and the Cavaliers won their sixth straight with a 108-98 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

James had 34 points and seven rebounds and Kevin Love had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavs, who look like a different team since a pair of trades in recent weeks have reshaped the roster.

Durant had 32 points and nine assists and guard Russell Westbrook had 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who closed a five-game trip through the Eastern Conference with a pair of losses.

After going scoreless in the third quarter, James scored 12 points in the fourth, including 8 within the first 2 1/2 minutes to give the Cavs a 91-80 lead with 9:41 left. Guard Kyrie Irving had 21 points and six assists and guard J.R. Smith scored 14 points for the Cavs, who led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter.

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Dion Waiters praises Cavs, says he has heard from Irving and Thompson since trade but not LeBron

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 24, 2015
Waiters, Dion OKC gear

CLEVELAND: Dion Waiters was back on the Cavaliers’ practice court Saturday, only this time he was wearing blue and orange. Two weeks after the three-team trade that sent him to Oklahoma City, Waiters praised the Cavs organization and said he felt like a move was coming eventually.

Waiters has communicated with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson since the trade, he said, but he has not heard from LeBron James. He said his recent comment that Thunder players “give me the ball. Like, I touch the ball,” was twisted and blown out of proportion.

“I said, ‘I get the ball, I get to feel it, I get to feel the game out.’ They took it and twisted it around a little bit,” Waiters said from the Cavs' old practice floor inside Quicken Loans Arena. “I guess they knew I was coming back home, we needed a story to talk about.”

Waiters is playing more minutes with the Thunder than he was with the Cavs, but actually is getting fewer passes than he was with the Cavs. Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Kevin Durant are each passing the ball to him about once a game, according to NBA stats. Irving passed the ball to him more than 5 times a game, James passed to him 3.5 times a night while Kevin Love and Thompson passed to him 3 times a game.

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Cavs 129, Hornets 90; Jason Lloyd's 33 final thoughts on LeBron's vision, trade possibilities

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 24, 2015
Smith, JR arms outstretched

CLEVELAND: Thirty-three thoughts for 33 first-quarter points in a 129-90 rout Friday over the Charlotte Hornets…

1. When they sat injured in the locker room during the second half of what became a 109-101 loss at Atlanta late last month, LeBron James and Kevin Love spoke about what they envisioned for this team. It certainly wasn’t six-game losing streaks, dismal defensive efforts and embarrassing losses to teams like the Pistons, Kings and 76ers.

2. Now as Timofey Mozgov stands in the lane catching lob dunks and absorbing space defensively, as Iman Shumpert takes the floor to a roaring ovation and J.R. Smith splashes off-balance 3-pointers, James’ vision is coming into focus.

3. “This is the team that I envisioned,” James said. “This is the style of basketball I envisioned. Obviously the points we put up, I don’t envision that every night. But how we share the ball, how we defend, that should be our staple every night.”

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Cavs set franchise record in 129-90 blowout over Charlotte Hornets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 23, 2015
Irving, Kyrie defends Kemba

CLEVELAND – The Cavaliers enjoyed their biggest halftime lead in franchise history and rolled easily to a 129-90 victory Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets.

Forward LeBron James had 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds in a season-low 27 minutes. Guard J.R. Smith scored 21 points – all on 3-pointers – as the Cavs set a season high in scoring, won their most lopsided game of the season and won their fifth straight. The Hornets lost for just the second time in their last 10 games.

The Cavs shot 61 percent in the first half and led 75-40 at the break, their most points in a half in at least 12 years. They constantly beat the Hornets down the floor in transition and had open looks at the basket throughout the night. Their defense, meanwhile, held an opponent under 42 percent shooting for the third-consecutive game.

Cavs center Timofey Mozgov had 14 points and 10 rebounds, guard Kyrie Irving scored 18 points and backup center Tristan Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds. None of the starters played the fourth quarter, otherwise the Cavs could’ve made a run at becoming the first time in 30 years to have all five starters score at least 15 points in three consecutive games. Kevin Love finished with just nine points.

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LeBron James lone Cavs player voted All-Star starter

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 22, 2015
James, LeBron alone horizontal

LeBron James will start his 11th consecutive All-Star game, although he was surpassed by the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry as the top vote getter.

James earned 1,470,483 votes in balloting announced Thursday, surpassed only by Curry’s 1,513,324. Kyrie Irving finished fourth in backcourt voting, meaning he is not eligible for the Rose Rule in his max contract that begins next season.

While Irving remains a strong candidate to be added as a reserve, he needed to be voted a starter in this game in order to earn more money in his max extension that begins next season. He’ll still receive 25 percent of the salary cap next season.

Kevin Love finished sixth among frontcourt players. Love could still be added as a reserve, but it might be difficult for the Cavs, the fifth seed in the East, to get three All-Stars.

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Cavs 106, Jazz 92; Jason Lloyd's 15 final thoughts on Cavs' historic night

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 22, 2015
Irving, Kyrie dive floor Jazz

CLEVELAND: Fifteen thoughts for 15 points from J.R. Smith in a 106-92 win over the Utah Jazz on a night the Cavs made history…

1. When the Cavs were negotiating with the Denver Nuggets to acquire Timofey Mozgov, LeBron James began doing his own research. Through Mozgov’s first five years in the league, James couldn’t recall playing meaningful late-game minutes against him when he was in New York or Denver.

2. So James began watching Mozgov and was impressed by what he saw: A 7-footer who can run the floor with ease, make a mid-range jump shot and fill the lane. Soon the idea of acquiring Mozgov had his blessing.

3. “He’s probably the best true big … I’ve played with since Z,” James said, referring to Zydrunas Ilgauskas. James acknowledged Chris Bosh and Kevin Love as terrific bigs, but was referring to strictly 7-foot, legitimate centers. “(Ilgauskas and Mozgov) have different skill sets, but they both have skill. They know how to play. Sometimes you get a lot of bigs that are just big. He knows how to play. It’s great to have him out there.”

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All five starters score at least 15 points, Cavs win fourth straight with 106-92 victory over Jazz

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 21, 2015
James, LeBron reverse dunk & ball

CLEVELAND: LeBron James had 26 points and nine assists while battling the flu, forward Kevin Love had 19 points and 13 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Utah Jazz 106-92 Wednesday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

James and Love combined for 14 of the Cavs’ 29 points in the third quarter when they blew open an 82-62 lead in a 12-minute flurry of highlights. Love zipped a full-court chest pass to James, who powered down a dunk and glared at the Jazz’s Gordon Hayward. That was followed a couple of minutes later by perhaps the Cavs’ best sequence of the season when guard Kyrie Irving deflected a pass while the Jazz were running in transition.

Cavs guard J.R. Smith kept the ball from sailing out of bounds by batting it backwards over his head with two hands. Tristan Thompson caught the pass and handed it back to Irving, who tossed a lob to Love for the dunk and a 74-48 lead with four minutes left.

The only downside to the night for the Cavs was the bench’s inability to close out the win. When the Jazz pulled within 14 midway through the fourth, coach David Blatt was forced to put James and the others back in the game. All five starters score at least 15 points for the second consecutive game. Prior to Monday’s win against the Bulls, that hadn’t happened in nearly 22 years.

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving battling illnesses, but expected to play tonight against Jazz

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 21, 2015
James, LeBron tongue out

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James participated in shootaround this morning and will play tonight when the Cavs host the Utah Jazz. Kyrie Irving did not participate because he is ill, but he is still expected to play tonight. James missed practice Tuesday because he was also sick.

The Jazz beat the Cavs in early November in Utah. The Cavs managed just six assists in that game and still nearly won before Gordon Hayward’s game-winning shot at the buzzer. Hayward wrote on his blog after that game that James “can’t bully me as much as he used to, and I’m able to stand my ground against him.”

James, still looking and feeling ill on Wednesday, dismissed the idea he ever bullied Hayward.

“If it made him feel better by saying that,” James said, “then good for him.”

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Cavs 108, Bulls 94: Jason Lloyd's 32 final thoughts on new defensive schemes, 3-game winning streak

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 20, 2015
Meyer, Urban with Moondog

CLEVELAND: Thirty-two thoughts for 32 Chicago free throw attempts in a 108-94 win over the Bulls on Monday…

1. One of the changes the Cavs made since the acquisition of Timofey Mozgov is the way they defend pick-and-rolls, particularly side pick-and-rolls. Previously that entailed a lot of activity for the bigs, but now the Cavs are sort of funneling the play toward the help.

2. That’s what David Blatt is referring to when he speaks of defensive tweaks the Cavs have made in recent games. He’s not going to come out and explain it – remember this is the guy who doesn’t even like to divulge his starting lineup – but the Cavs are now defending side pick-and-rolls the way the Bulls, Spurs and many other defensive powers do it.

3. The cause for the change is Mozgov. I’ve long said the Cavs paid a steep, steep price to get him, but there’s no question he fills a big need on this team. His numbers don’t really reflect those of an elite rim protector, but he’s an enormous body and he clearly caused big problems for Pau Gasol.

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Three record double-doubles, Cavs pound Bulls 108-94 in third straight win

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2015
Love, Kevin defends Taj Gibson

CLEVELAND: LeBron James scored 26 points and forward Kevin Love had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ impressive 108-94 victory Monday night against the Chicago Bulls. All five Cavs starters scored in double figures, including double-doubles from Love, Timofey Mozgov (15 points, 15 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (18 points, 12 assists) as the Cavs won their third straight.

The Cavs never trailed, blowing open a 25-point lead in the third quarter before the Bulls temporarily pulled within 12 early in the fourth. The result, however, was never in doubt partly because the Bulls kept self-destructing. Aside from a mountain of missed shots, center Pau Gasol dropped a rebound out of bounds and reserve guard Tony Snell fired a pass to no one in the third quarter that ultimately hit Cavs coach David Blatt on the shoulder.

The Bulls shot 38 percent to become the fourth opponent this season to shoot less than 40 percent against a Cavs defense that ranks among the worst in the league. They’re the first Cavs opponent to shoot less than 40 percent since the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 2. It marked the fifth time the Bulls shot less than 40 percent this month.

These were supposed to be the top two teams in the East this season. Instead, they entered as the fourth (Bulls) and sixth (Cavs) seeded teams in the East. Both have had their problems of late – the Bulls have lost four of their last five and the Cavs still have the scars from dropping nine of 10 recently. But the Cavs are showing more promising signs of pulling out of it. They’re now 3-1 since James returned from his two-week layoff to rest an injured knee and back.

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Pregame: Bulls at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2015

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: TNT

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Kevin Love (back) probable; Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out; Iman Shumpert (shoulder) out. Bulls - Joakim Noah (hand, ankle) out; Doug McDermott (knee) out; Mike Dunleavy (ankle) out.

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Kevin Love expects to play tonight when Cavs host Chicago Bulls

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2015
Love, Kevin to hoop vs Suns

INDEPENDENCE: Kevin Love says he expects to play tonight when the Cavaliers host the Chicago Bulls.

Love missed Friday’s victory at the Los Angeles Clippers after struggling to get through Thursday’s win over the Lakers because of back problems. But he made it through practice on Sunday after a long five-hour flight Saturday from Los Angeles.

“Couple pillows lodged under my back, some meds and then try to get up and stretch a few times,” Love said. “When it’s a 4-5 hour flight, that’s never good. It’s not always good for your body, but for your back it’s really, really tough. We have a great training staff here that’s going to keep me ready.”

Love is averaging 17.7 points and 10.3 rebounds this season. This is the first time he has dealt with back problems in his career.

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Cavs 126, Clippers 121; Jason Lloyd's 20 final thoughts on LeBron's historic night

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 17, 2015
James, LeBron points

LOS ANGELES: Twenty thoughts for 20 turnovers in an otherwise-impressive 126-121 win over the Los Angeles Clippers…

1. Perhaps it was the warm West Coast sun that started the thaw over this cold war. Maybe it’s just a healthy LeBron James. Regardless, James’ body language, and the effort of his teammates, has been considerably better the last few days. Not surprisingly, it has resulted in the Cavs’ first winning streak since before Christmas.

2. James became the youngest player to 24,000 points on Friday, but that wasn’t the most significant milestone. That might have been the eye contact, the communication with David Blatt and the acknowledgement from star to coach of a job well done.

3. Blatt has spent most of this season praising LeBron. He finally started to return the favor Friday. As a result, the heat inside this pressure cooker of a season has been reduced considerably over the last 48 hours.

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LeBron James youngest to 24,000 points, Cavs on winning streak after 126-121 win over Clippers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 17, 2015
Irving, Kyrie defended by Blake at rim

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James scored 32 points to become the youngest player in NBA history with 24,000 career points and the Cavs closed their West Coast trip with a 126-121 victory Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, falling one shy of his season high, and Tristan Thompson had 24 points and 12 rebounds as a surprise starter for the Cavs, who have won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 19-23.

James (30 years, 17 days) began the night needing 30 points to surpass Kobe Bryant (31 years, 75 days). He reached the milestone in the fourth quarter of a tightly-contested game that included 11 ties and 16 lead changes.

The Clippers  pulled within a basket in the final minute when a blown inbounds pass resulted in a Cavs turnover, but they held on when Matthew Dellavedova made two huge free throws with nine seconds left.

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Cavs 109, Lakers 102: Jason Lloyd's 31 final thoughts following a much-needed victory

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2015
Kobe and LBJ hug

LOS ANGELES: Thirty-one thoughts for 31 3-point attempts in a much-needed 109-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers…

1. In his Players Tribune essay prior to the start of the regular season, Kevin Love wrote that he’d never appeared in a playoff game and that he’d sweep the floors if it brought him an NBA title.

2. He didn’t sweep the floor Thursday, but he laid on it long enough in the fourth quarter that it was fair to question if he was leaving on a stretcher.

3. Love has endured his share of scrutiny already this season, but he deserves a ton of credit for gritting out 37 painful minutes after his back locked up on his during the opening introductions. The Cavs were playing a terrible Lakers team and desperately needed a victory. Clearly aware of this as well, Love limped up and down the floor and even stepped in front of Jeremy Lin to take a charge in the fourth quarter.

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LeBron James scores 36 points, Cavs end 6-game skid with 109-102 win over Lakers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2015
Kobe and LeBron action

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James had 36 points, five rebounds and five assists and the Cavaliers ended a six-game losing streak with a much-needed 109-102 victory Thursday over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe Bryant had 19 points and a career-high 17 assists for the Lakers, who pulled within 103-99 in the final minute when Bryant made 2 of 3 free throws with 44 seconds left.

James drove left on Bryant on the Cavs’ ensuing possession and scored and Bryant missed a 3-pointer from the corner for the Lakers, giving the Cavs just their third win since Christmas.

Kevin Love battled back pain all night to score 17 points and grab seven rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 22 points. Coach David Blatt used just eight players all night, illustrating how badly the Cavs needed a victory.

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Cavs coach David Blatt calls issue over timeouts 'nonsense'

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 15, 2015
Blatt, David hands on hips2

LOS ANGELES: David Blatt called the idea Tyronn Lue is dictating team timeouts as “nonsense,” but conceded he’ll listen when Lue shouts something to him during games.

Both ESPN and the Beacon Journal reported this week how teams around the league are surprised by Lue’s involvement from the bench. Lue, who was named associate head coach three days after Blatt took the job, specifically has been observed shouting out when to take timeouts.

“An assistant coach can’t call a timeout at an NBA game if you didn’t know that,” Blatt said. “Now if he sees something and feels something and he yells something out to alert me what he thinks, I don’t have a problem with that. I listen to what I think I need to listen to and what I don’t think I need to listen to.

“That’s a lot of nonsense,” Blatt said of the reports. “I think it’s kind of cheap to be honest, I really do.”

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Suns 107, Cavs 100: Jason Lloyd's 27 final thoughts on LeBron James' return

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 14, 2015
James, LeBron tongue out

PHOENIX: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 defensive rebounds in the Cavs’ 107-100 loss to the Phoenix Suns on the night LeBron James returned…

1. Well that didn’t work.

2. Anyone who thought LeBron James’ return would magically cure the Cavs’ ailments (show of hands please?) was sorely disappointed watching the Suns shoot 53 percent on the night and dunk the Cavs under .500 for the first time since late November. They have now lost six straight and 10 of their last 12, making this the latest in a season James has been under .500 (according to ESPN Stats & Information) since his rookie year.

3. James scored 33 points and looked better. The defense did not. The Cavs are now 5-19 when the opponent shoots a higher percentage, which has happened in 11 of the last 12 games.

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Cavs lose sixth straight despite LeBron James' return, 107-100 to Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2015

PHOENIX: The Cavaliers rallied from a 19-point third-quarter deficit in LeBron James’ return to briefly take the lead, but still fell to the Phoenix Suns 107-100 Tuesday to fall below .500 for the first time since late November. 

James scored 33 in his return, J.R. Smith had 29 points and the Cavs rallied to tie the game at 88 midway through the fourth quarter before taking the lead with 7:20 to play. But Markieff Morris scored 35 points, including 11 in the fourth, and the Cavs lost for the 10th time in their last 12 games, including six in a row.

 “It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through,” James said prior to the game, referring to sitting amidst the losing. “I hated the fact we were playing some pretty decent ball when I went out and we’ve just dropped a lot of games when I was out.

Guys are hanging their heads low at times. We’ve just got to continue to work the habits and things we’ve built over the season. We’ve played some really good basketball, we’ve played some not good basketball. Obviously of late we haven’t played really good basketball so hopefully we get back to it.”

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LeBron James returns to Cavs' lineup tonight against Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2015
James, LeBron Xmas jersey

PHOENIX: LeBron James will return to the lineup  tonight when the Cavaliers play at the Phoenix Suns, coach David Blatt said.

James conceded Tuesday morning he is pushing himself harder to get back because of the losing streak and said he’d “possibly” take longer to rest if the team was winning.

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through,” James said. “I hated the fact we were playing some pretty decent ball when I went out and we’ve just dropped a lot of games when I was out. Hopefully if I can make it back tonight or very soon we can get back to our winning ways.”

The Cavs have lost eight of nine games this season without him, including their last five as he recovered from knee and back injuries.

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Pregame: Cavs at Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2015
Morris twins

Time: 9 p.m.; Place: US Airways Center

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - LeBron James (knee, back) questionable; Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out; Iman Shumpert (shoulder) out. Suns - Omri Casspi (knee) out; Ramon Sessions (back) out; Eric Moreland (shoulder) out.

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LeBron James calls sitting and losing 'most difficult thing I've ever been through'

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2015
James, LeBron OSU sideline

PHOENIX: LeBron James remains questionable for tonight’s game at the Phoenix Suns, although he conceded he is pushing himself harder to get back because of the losing streak and said he’d “possibly” take longer to rest if the team was winning.

James has missed the last eight games while resting knee and back injuries, the longest stretch he has sat in his career. The Cavs have lost seven of them.

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through,” James said. “I hated the fact we were playing some pretty decent ball when I went out and we’ve just dropped a lot of games when I was out. Hopefully if I can make it back tonight or very soon we can get back to our winning ways.”

The Cavs have lost eight of nine overall this season without him, including their last five.

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LeBron James participates in practice, questionable for Tuesday's game against Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2015
James, LeBron clapping in suit

PHOENIX: LeBron James participated in practice Monday and will be a game-time decision Tuesday when the Cavaliers play at the Phoenix Suns. James was withheld from parts of practice, but otherwise will wait to see how he feels Tuesday before a determination is made on his status.

“Hopefully my body reacts really well tomorrow,” James said. “I’m going to get some more (treatment) later on as well as tomorrow and see what happens.”

The Cavs have lost five straight without James and are 1-8 this season in games he doesn’t play. They’ve lost by an average of 14.2 points during this streak, and while he feels better physically, James has been frustrated watching this team struggle without him.

“I hate seeing us not play to our ability,” James said. “We play well at times, but we don’t sustain the effort for 48 minutes. If a team comes out and jumps on us, we have a chance to – I don’t want to say give up – but kind of let our guard down a little bit. We’ve got to sustain the effort on both ends.”

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David Blatt clarifies remarks on Kevin Love as a max player

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2015
Blatt, David shouts

PHOENIX: Cavs coach David Blatt said he was simply referring to Kevin Love’s contract structure and meant no disrespect to him as a player when he said Love “is not a max player yet.”

“My comment was either misunderstood or misconstrued,” Blatt said Monday after practice. “I was simply saying that with our team he does not have a max contract because we’re not allowed to talk to him about anything until after the season is over.”

Blatt said he addressed his comments with Love, who wasn’t upset by it.

“I wanted to get the context of it all,” Love said. “Once I got the context and what he was talking about, he’s right. We can’t talk about anything about this summer or contracts or anything of that nature so I just let it roll off.”

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Kings 103, Cavs 84; Jason Lloyd's 25 final thoughts on another terrible road loss

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2015
Marion, Love, LeBron

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Twenty-five thoughts for 25 points from Kevin Love in a terrible 103-84 loss to the Sacramento Kings…

1. It was one week ago today that GM David Griffin gave a passionate speech about David Blatt’s job security. Since then the Cavs are 0-5 and have lost by an average of 14.2 points. Included in that was a disgraceful loss at Philadelphia and tonight’s blowout, which doesn’t rank much higher.

2. The Cavs are taking on water. Quickly. That much is obvious. We’re nearing the season’s midpoint and the Cavs are a .500 team. Regardless of the injuries and trades, there is far too much talent on this team for that to be true.

3. “We’re going through a lot of stuff, honestly,” David Blatt said. “We’re going through a lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of changes. A lot of adjustments on the fly. Sometimes that catches up with you a little bit.”

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Cavs fall back to .500 with 103-84 loss to Kings; LeBron James could practice Monday

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 11, 2015
Love, Cousins fight for ball

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Kevin Love had 25 poitns and 10 rebounds, Kyrie Irving had 21 points and seven assists and Timofey Mozgov had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his first start, but the Cavs lost to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday 103-84 to fall back to .500 (19-19) for the first time since late November.

The Kings shot 53 percent through three quarters and the Cavs fell to 1-8 in games without LeBron James.

That could change as early as this week.

Coach David Blatt is hopeful James will practice Monday in Phoenix and he hasn’t been ruled out to play Tuesday when the Cavs travel to the Phoenix Suns.

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Pregame: Cavs at Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 11, 2015
Cousins, DeMarcus

Time: 9 p.m.; Place: Sleep Train Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - LeBron James (knee, back) out; Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out; Iman Shumpert (shoulder) out; Shawn Marion (hip) doubtful. Kings - Omri Casspi (knee) out; Ramon Sessions (back) out; Eric Moreland (shoulder) out.

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LeBron James returned to Miami this week to rehab knee, back

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 8, 2015
James, LeBron gray suit

LeBron James returned to Miami for a couple of days this week to rehab his injured knee and back, the Cavs confirmed Thursday. James had the permission of General Manager David Griffin and team physician Dr. Richard Parker to depart on Sunday and return to Cleveland on Wednesday while the team played in Philadelphia on Monday.

Coach David Blatt said Wednesday before a loss to the Houston Rockets that James was missing because of doctor's orders.

“He’s not supposed to be doing a lot of continuous sitting,” Blatt said. “That was really by design.”

James told reporters he was rehabbing his back 3-4 times a day and on target to return during this West Coast trip.

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Rockets 105, Cavs 93; Jason Lloyd's 29 final thoughts on Mozgov trade and roster overhaul

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 8, 2015
Smith, JR finger roll

CLEVELAND: Twenty-nine thoughts for 29 3-point attempts in a 105-93 loss to the Houston Rockets on a day the game didn’t seem important…

1. First a disclaimer: I didn’t watch one minute of this game tonight. Not one minute. First was the Timofey Mozgov trade, then LeBron James spoke to reporters as the game was tipping off, then Cavs GM David Griffin addressed reporters at halftime to discuss the flurry of recent moves. Add it all up and I missed the entire game.

2. My first reaction to the Mozgov trade was admittedly: “drastic overpay.” Since the start of the 2011-12 season, here are the players who have been traded for multiple first-round picks: Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, James Harden and Andre Iguodala.

3. Iguodala was part of a sign-and-trade last season that netted the Utah Jazz two first-round picks in a three-team deal. Harden went to Houston in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and a pair of first-round picks. Nash was traded to the Lakers for two first-round picks and two second-round picks and the Magic got three first-round picks, along with a slew of players (including Nikola Vucevic) in exchange for Howard.

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James Harden, Dwight Howard hand Cavs' seventh loss in nine games, 105-93

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2015
Howard, Dwight dunk

CLEVELAND: Rockets guard James Harden had 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds Wednesday night to offset a season-best performance from Cavs guard Kyrie Irving in Houston’s 105-93 win over Cleveland.

Irving returned from missing one game with a sore back to score a season-high 38 for the Cavs, who have lost seven of their last nine and announced a trade during the game. But he shot just 1-for-6 in the fourth quarter, when the Rockets outscored the Cavs 32-19.

The Rockets took the lead for good on a dunk from Dwight Howard with 9:57 left and gradually built on it the rest of the night. Howard had 17 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for the Rockets, while Josh Smith had 16 points off the bench.

The injury-ravaged Cavs continued their roster overhaul by acquiring Timofey Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets during the game. The Cavs sent the Nuggets two first-round picks in exchange for Mozgov, the massive 7-foot-1, 250-pound center who Cavs coach David Blatt coached on the Russian national team during Olympic play.

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LeBron James hopeful he'll return during upcoming West Coast trip

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2015
James, LeBron in a suit

CLEVELAND: LeBron James hasn’t touched a basketball in a week, but he remains hopeful he’ll return to the lineup at some point during the Cavs’ upcoming West Coast trip. That trip begins Friday at Golden State, although James’ targeted return is closer to next weekend.

James has been rehabbing his ailing knee and back 3 to 4 times a day, he said, and conceded he hasn’t felt well all season.

“I’ve had spurts where one or two games I felt good and after that I was just pushing through it,” he said. “I feel better right now than I’ve felt for the majority of the season.

“I finally just listened to my body ultimately. Once I started seeing my game being affected by my stubbornness, then I looked myself in the mirror and understood I have to do what’s best for me. It was one of the hardest but smartest decisions I’ve made.”

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Cavs acquire Timofey Mozgov from Nuggets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2015
Mozgov, Timofey in Nuggets jersey

CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers have acquired Timofey Mozgov and a second-round pick from the Denver Nuggets today in exchange for two first-round picks, the team announced.

The Cavs will send to Denver protected first-round picks from both the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder to obtain Mozgov, the massive 7-foot-1 center the team has coveted for months. They have been searching for a rim protector since last summer and Mozgov has been their No. 1 target. He came with a heavy price.

Mozgov, 28, has averaged 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in his career. He is averaging 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds this season.

The Thunder pick, acquired earlier this week, is protected 1-18 in 2015 and 1-15 in both 2016 and 2017. It turns into two second-round picks if not conveyed by then. The Grizzlies pick is protected 1-5 and 15-30 in 2015 and 2016, 1-5 in 2017 and 2018 and is unprotected in 2019.

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Sixers 95, Cavs 92; Jason Lloyd's 23 thoughts on Dion Waiters trade and a bad loss

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 6, 2015
Shumpert, Iman dunk with Knicks

PHILADELPHIA: Twenty-three thoughts for 23 assists on a wild night that ended with a trade and a bad 95-92 loss to the Sixers…

1. I’ve seen some strange things covering this team the last four years, but tonight might vault to No. 1. Dion Waiters was on the floor warming up and was even introduced as a starter when he was pulled moments before the opening tip. Tristan Thompson said the players found out about 90 seconds before the game began, but the Cavs knew by Monday morning they were probably going to have a deal by the end of the night.

2. I’ve also never seen a team acknowledge trade talks before a deal was completed, but the Cavs had little choice after Waiters, Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk were pulled from the bench, leaving them with just nine healthy players. That still should’ve been enough to win this game. But we’ll get to the game later.

3. To recap: The Cavs receive Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the Knicks and a protected first-round pick from the Thunder. Waiters goes to the Thunder and the Knicks get a 2019 second-round pick from the Cavs (which was their first available. They now don’t own a second rounder until 2020).

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Sixers get first home win this season with 95-92 victory over Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2015
Love, Kevin ball shot

PHILADLEPHIA: Tony Wroten’s driving layup with 9.1 seconds left gave the Philadelphia 76ers a stunning 95-92 victory against a short-handed Cavs team Monday on a night overshadowed by trade discussions.

Dion Waiters was expected to start, but instead was a late scratch because he is involved in trade discussions. The Cavs acknowledged the trade talks and pulled Waiters, Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk, leaving them with just nine healthy players for the game.

ESPN and Yahoo reported the Cavs sending Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder while obtaining J.R. Smith from the New York Knicks. Yahoo Sports reported Iman Shumpert is also included in the deal from the Knicks and headed to the Cavs.

The Cavs led by 17 midway through the third quarter Monday, but went nearly seven minutes with just one basket in the fourth to allow the Sixers to tie the game at 88 with two minutes to play.

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Cavs involved in trade talks regarding Dion Waiters

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2015
waiters, dion

PHILADELPHIA: The Cavaliers are reportedly close to acquiring guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in a three-team trade that includes Dion Waiters.

Waiters, along with Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk, were late scratches from Monday’s game at the Philadelphia 76ers and the team acknowledged they were in the midst of trade talks.

ESPN and Yahoo reported the Cavs sending Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder while obtaining Smith from the New York Knicks. Yahoo Sports reported Shumpert is also included in the deal and headed to the Cavs.

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Pregame: Cavs at Sixers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2015
Noel, Nerlens

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Wells Fargo Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Kyrie Irving (back) out; LeBron James (knee, back) out; Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Sixers - Hollis Thompson (ill) probable; Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) questionable; Luc Mbah a Moute (foot) questionable; Joel Embiid (foot) out; Jason Richardson (knee) out.

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Kyrie Irving will not play Monday at Sixers; will remain in Cleveland with back injury

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2015
Irving, Kyrie driving vs Mavs

CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving will not play Monday night when the Cavs face the Philadelphia 76ers. Irving did not travel with the team Sunday and instead will remain in Cleveland for treatment on his sore back.

Irving left Sunday’s 109-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter with lower back tightness. He shot just 2-for-9 and struggled moving around the court. He will remain in Cleveland for treatment after initially injuring the back during a hard fall in Friday’s win at Charlotte.

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Kevin Love scores 30, but Cavs pounded at home by Mavs 109-90

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2015
Love, Kevin shoots vs Dirk

CLEVELAND: Mavericks guard Monta Ellis scored 20 points and Dallas won its fifth straight, 109-90 over the Cavaliers Sunday afternoon to spoil Kevin Love’s best game with his new team.

Love scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who were again without LeBron James and lost Kyrie Irving in the third quarter to a tight lower back. The Cavs have lost five of their last seven while the injuries pile up, but General Manager David Griffin emphatically insisted before the game coach David Blatt’s future is safe and his job security was never in question.

The Mavericks took the lead for good late in the first quarter and were never challenged. They pushed the lead to 20 late in the third quarter and both teams played reserves for much of the fourth.

Dirk Nowitzki had 15 points, Tyson Chandler had 14 points and eight rebounds and Chandler Parsons had 14 points for the Mavericks, who improved to 6-2 since acquiring Rajon Rondo.

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Cavs GM David Griffin emphatically insists no coaching change is being considered

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2015
Blatt, David hands on hips

CLEVELAND: Cavs General Manager David Griffin emphatically insisted David Blatt will remain the head coach and that his job was never in question.

“This narrative of our coaching situation is truly ridiculous,” Griffin said. “It’s a non-story, it’s a non-narrative. Coach Blatt is our coach, he’s going to remain our coach. Do not write that as a vote of confidence. He never needed one. It was never a question. So don’t write it that way.”

Questions over Blatt’s job security surfaced in recent days as the Cavs have battled injuries to start the season 19-14. ESPN reported last week there was concern within the organization over the relationship between Blatt and LeBron James. Griffin said he listened to James’ entire audio interview in which he supported Blatt on three different occasions.

“Three different times he said we’re growing together every day, the team grows together every day and I am happy with who we have at the helm. But that wasn’t a sexy pull quote so we kept looking for something else until we could pull something that sounded negative,” Griffin said. “That narrative is done. No change is being made, period.”

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Cavs 91, Hornets 87; Jason Lloyd's 27 final thoughts on Kevin Love, injuries and shot blockers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 3, 2015
Love, Kevin down with hurt knee

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Twenty-seven thoughts for 27 points from Kevin Love in a 91-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets…

1. You can’t fault David Blatt for being a little nervous every time a player hits the floor. Given the injuries to Anderson Varejao, LeBron James and the recent dings to Kevin Love and Shawn Marion, the Cavs have endured their fair share of injuries to key guys the last few days.

2. So when Love, in the midst of one of his best offensive games of the season, collided with Bismack Biyombo early in the third quarter and couldn’t get up, you can’t fault Blatt for panicking a little. So did the rest of the players. The entire team ran out to the baseline to check on Love once the Cavs could call a timeout to stop the game.

3. “Every time I see somebody fall down or bend over to fix their shoelaces I’m a little bit worried right now,” Blatt said. “We’re a little bit on eggshells as far as that stuff is concerned.”

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Kevin Love scores 27 points, Cavs end three-game skid with 91-87 win over Hornets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2015
Walker, Kemba in air Irving defends

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Kevin Love scored 27 points to enjoy his best offensive game in a month, including a big basket in the final minute, and the Cavaliers ended a three-game losing streak with a 91-87 victory Friday at the Charlotte Hornets.

With the Cavs now understanding LeBron James is out for the foreseeable future, one of the many problems they face is finding a way to replace his scoring. Love, averaging his fewest points since his second season in the league, is the most logical candidate.

He had 23 points after three quarters Friday, the most he has scored in a game since Dec. 2, and his turnaround jumper with the shot clock expiring gave the Cavs an 88-83 lead with 23.4 seconds left.

Tristan Thompson had 14 points and tied his season-high with 14 rebounds, Kyrie Irving had 23 points and Dion Waiters scored 17 off the bench. The Cavs didn’t play great, but they were fortunate enough to be facing a woeful Hornets team that lost their fourth straight. Yet the Cavs still had to rally from an 11-point deficit in the first half and then hold on in the final minute. Gerald Henderson missed a 3-pointer with a chance to tie the game at 86, leading to Love’s big turnaround basket at the other end.

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Pregame: Cavs at Hornets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2015
Williams, Marvin 3pt goggles

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Time Warner Cable Arena 

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Kevin Love (back) probable; Shawn Marion (ankle) probable; LeBron James (knee, back) out; Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Hornets - Al Jefferson (groin) out; Lance Stephenson (pelvis) out; Jannero Pargo (back) out.

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Kevin Love, Shawn Marion expect to play tonight; Blatt says LeBron James has been playing in pain

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2015
Love, Kevin dribbles vs Pistons

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Kevin Love and Shawn Marion both said they will play tonight when the Cavaliers visit the Charlotte Hornets. Love missed a game with back spasms and Marion sat two games with a sprained left ankle.

Now both players, along with the rest of the Cavs, understand they’ll be without LeBron James for the foreseeable future. James is expected to miss two weeks recovering from knee and back strains.

James' explosiveness and athleticisim have come under scrutiny this season, but he revealed the other night the knee has been bothering him all year. He aggravated it when he jumped into the stands on Christmas Day at Miami.

“You’re going to have aches and pains. This became an issue where he really just couldn’t play comfortably,” Cavs coach David Blatt said of James. “A lot of things were said unfairly. The guy has been playing with a lot of pain or some pain and we just decided enough. Let’s shut him down, let’s take care of the problem, let’s get him back to feeling 100 percent and we’ll start from there when he’s ready to go again.”

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LeBron James expected to miss next two weeks with knee, back injuries

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 1, 2015
James, LeBron alone horizontal

LeBron James is expected to miss the next two weeks with knee and back problems, the team announced Thursday. James has missed the last two games with a problematic left knee and conceded the injury had been bothering him since the start of the season.

This is another crushing blow to a team that has lost its last three games and four of its last five while the injuries continue to mount.

An MRI, radiograph and physical exam revealed left knee and lower back strains for James, which will be treated with anti-inflammatories, rest, treatment and rehab. The timing is less than idea since the Cavs’ schedule stiffens considerably in January.

If the two-week timeline holds true, James could miss as many as nine games, including a difficult five-game West Coast trip. The Cavs will face the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers within the next two weeks, among others.

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Kyrie Irving losing ground, and ulimately money, in All-Star voting

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 1, 2015
Irving, Kyrie alone dribbling horizontal

LeBron James continues to lead all voting for February’s All-Star game, but Dwyane Wade has widened his lead over Kyrie Irving for the second starting guard spot in a vote that could ultimately cost Irving at least $5 million.

John Wall leads all guards in the East with 439,395 votes in the second balloting returns announced Thursday. Wade is second with 396,757 votes and Irving is third with 308,727 after trailing Wade by about 28,000 votes last week. Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, who trailed Irving by 55,000 votes last week, is only about 34,000 votes behind him now.

Since he was already voted an All-Star starter last year, Irving is in line for a Rose Exception on his max contract that begins next season, but only if he is voted an All-Star starter again this season. The Rose Exception entitles Irving to 30 percent of the salary cap next year instead of 25 percent. Given the annual raises, starting or not starting could mean the difference of at least $5 million over the length of the contract.

James leads all players with 775,810 votes. The Warriors’ Steph Curry is second in voting with 755,486 votes. Kevin Love is fifth in balloting for frontcourt players. 

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