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LeBron James dislikes ref reports league releases after close games

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 29, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James dismissed the importance of the league’s Last 2 Minutes report initiative and made it clear Friday he doesn’t see a use for them in the NBA.  

“It changes absolutely nothing,” James said.

In an effort to improve transparency, the league began last season releasing reports critiquing the calls officials make and do not make on games within five points with two minutes left.

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Cavs to host Atlanta Hawks next week in conference semifinals

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 28, 2016

The Cavaliers will host the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the conference semifinals Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Hawks eliminated the Boston Celtics Thursday with a 104-92 win in Game 6 at Boston to advance.

The Cavs swept the Hawks in the conference finals last season and won all three games this season.

Outspoken TNT analyst Charles Barkley said Thursday night following the game he is picking the Cavs to win it all.

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Cavs coach Tyronn Lue: David Blatt 'definitely deserves another chance'

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 28, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: Cavs coach Tyronn Lue gave former coach David Blatt a strong endorsement one day after reports circulated that the New York Knicks interviewed him to be their coach.

“He definitely deserves another chance,” Lue said. “I thought Coach Blatt did a great and phenomenal job here. He taught me a lot. Just being friends with him and getting a chance to understand him was great for me. I know a lot of guys around here, we talked about it the other day, they miss him and his presence. I would just like keep in contact with him. Hopefully, he gets another job in this league because he deserves it.” 

Blatt interviewed with Knicks president Phil Jackson on Monday, according to multiple reports. He was fired at the halfway point of this season despite a 30-11 record and first place in the East. Blatt played with Knicks general manager Steve Mills at Princeton.

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J.R. Smith held out of practice with minor groin injury

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 27, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: J.R. Smith did not practice Wednesday after hurting his groin during Sunday’s Game 4 victory against the Detroit Pistons.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said the injury is not considered serious and Smith should be fine to play next week when the Cavs open their conference semifinal series at home against either the Atlanta Hawks or Boston Celtics. The Hawks lead their series 3-2 and can close out the Celtics Thursday night at Boston.

Smith hurt the groin during the first half and was able to remain in the game Sunday.

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League declares Cavs' Kyrie Irving did not foul Pistons' Reggie Jackson on game's final play Sunday

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 25, 2016

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson was not fouled on the final play of the Cavs’ Game 4 sweep, the league ruled Monday, despite Jackson’s insistence referees should be fined or fired for blown calls.

Jackson appeared to have room to drive closer to the basket for a potential game-tying shot at the end of the Cavs' 100-98 victory on Sunday. But after beating Kyrie Irving on the final play, he instead pulled up for a 3-pointer to try and win it and left it short.

Jackson was upset Irving wasn’t called for a foul, but the league’s Last 2 Minute report declared the call was correct and Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president of replay and referee operations, showed through video why it wasn’t a foul.

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Cavs 100, Pistons 98; Jason Lloyd's 22 thoughts on a sweep, healthy roster and time to rest

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 25, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: Twenty-two thoughts for 22 points from LeBron James in Sunday’s 100-98 win to complete the first-round sweep of the Detroit Pistons…

1.      One by one, the three Cavs stars filed off the podium, down the long hallway and onto the charter bus inside the Palace. No slings, no bandages, no awaiting surgeries. This time Kevin Love was annoyed someone with the league asked him to take his hat off when he hadn’t fixed his hair (so he refused) rather than being outraged by what he considered to be a dirty play by Kelly Olynyk.

2.      This time it was the Golden State Warriors feeling the crushing burden of losing a star in Game 4 of their first-round series. The state of the Warriors’ magnificent season seems at least a bit cloudy today given the uncertainty surrounding Steph Curry’s injured knee. This time it was Warriors players and coach Steve Kerr sounding as ominous as the Cavs’ locker room felt leaving Boston last year following a sweep of the Celtics.

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Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue's composure in first playoff series impresses LeBron James, J.R. Smith

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 25, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.: J.R. Smith learned something about Tyronn Lue during the Cavaliers coach's first playoff series.

It was his hands that were telling.

"His hands don't shake when it's time coming down the stretch to draw something up. That's big," Smith said Sunday night.

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LeBron James takes shot at NBA after Andre Drummond goes unpunished for his shot at James

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 24, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: LeBron James delivered another subtle message to the league Sunday that he believes he is treated unfairly on foul calls. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who has remained relatively quiet on the physicality of this series, seemed to agree.

Pistons center Andre Drummond was not punished by the league for his elbow to James’ head early in Game 3. It was the latest in a long line of shots James has taken in this series that border on dirty play.

“Initially I was surprised,” Drummond wasn’t punished, James said Sunday. “But then I thought who he did it to and I wasn’t surprised.”

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Cavs 101, Pistons 91; Jason Lloyd's 26 thoughts on the success of the Big Three

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 23, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 points from Kyrie Irving in Friday’s 101-91 win over the Detroit Pistons to take a 3-0 series lead…

1.      There is a downside to playing well for the Cavaliers in the postseason: You have to wait. And wait and wait and wait. Wait on LeBron James to ice, wait on LeBron James to finish watching the Celtics and Hawks on the television in the team locker room – one of the two will be the Cavs’ next opponent (surprise! the Cavs are advancing) – and wait on LeBron James to shower and dress.

2.      Great postseason games are podium games, but podium players never leave a man behind. In Cleveland, they go there together. And no one walks the halls and climbs onto that podium until LeBron is ready. Matthew Dellavedova fell victim to the podium punishment last year, sitting and waiting for at least 20 minutes while James completed his routine. Friday it was Kyrie Irving’s turn to wait and wait and wait. And wait.

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Kyrie Irving's endless drills, attention to detail pay off with dagger 3-pointer for Cavaliers

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 23, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.: Kyrie Irving's dagger 3-pointer off an inbounds play with seven-tenths of a second remaining on the shot clock Friday night was no accident.

According to Cavaliers teammate J.R. Smith, Irving works on the scenario that arose in Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Irving's backbreaker from the right corner with 43 seconds remaining clinched the Cavaliers' 101-91 victory and gave them a 3-0 lead going into Sunday night's Game 4 at the Palace.

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Kyrie Irving's big 3-pointer gives Cavs 101-91 win over Pistons, 3-0 series lead

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 22, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy spent several minutes before Friday’s Game 3 lamenting how good Kyrie Irving has been shooting 3-pointers in this series.

“We have to adjust,” he said. Then failed again.

Irving’s corner 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and the shot clock buzzing sent the Cavaliers to a 101-91 victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead. They can close out the series with a sweep Sunday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Irving scored 26 points and his corner 3 pushed the Cavs’ lead to 98-90, essentially ending any shot at a Pistons upset. He made three more 3-pointers, pushing his 3-point percentage to 52 percent in this series (12 of 23). The shot was terrific; the pass may have been even better.

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LeBron James doesn't want Cavs filing complaints with league over physical play in series

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 22, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: LeBron James doesn’t want the Cavs to turn any clips into the league over the physical play in this series and insists he isn’t paying much attention to the Detroit Pistons’ tactics.

The team wanted to submit to the league clips of Marcus Morris and Andre Drummond hitting James with what they deemed were unnecessary elbows during the Cavs’ Game 2 victory. James, though, said they shouldn’t bother and that he doesn’t feel like the Pistons are targeting him. Game 3 is Friday night at the Palace.

“Even if they are (targeting), that’s not even what I’m concerned about,” he said Friday. “My concern is I’ve got to continue to be aggressive, put pressure on their defense, continue to find my guys when they’re open and continue to defend and help my guys on the glass with big Drummond. So I hope we don’t send anything into the league because it’s not about that.”

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Cavs 107, Pistons 90; Jason Lloyd's 24 thoughts on feuds, adjustments and a 2-0 series lead

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 21, 2016

CLEVELAND: Twenty-four thoughts for the 24 insults Stanley Johnson hurled at LeBron James after Wednesday’s 107-90 win over the Detroit Pistons to take a 2-0 series lead.

1.      As LeBron James grows older, his postseason adversaries seem to be getting younger and brasher. It started with Deshawn Stevenson, 27 at the time, and a harmless feud that eventually grew to include Jay-Z and Soulja Boy. Then came Lance Stevenson, 23 at the time, blowing in James’ ear during a playoff series between the Heat and Pacers.

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J.R. Smith reverses playoff fortune, ignites Cavs' record 3-point performance

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 21, 2016

CLEVELAND: J.R. Smith interrupted a question with a question and his irreverent response perfectly summed up his enthusiasm over the long-distance firestorm he'd just ignited.

"We shot 38 3s? Damn!" Smith said Wednesday night, drawing laughter.

The Cavaliers tied an NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a playoff game, hitting 20 in a 107-90 romp over the Detroit Pistons in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round series in Quicken Loans Arena.

Smith had a big hand in sending the Cavs to The Palace of Auburn Hills for Friday night's Game 3 with a 2-0 lead. Smith hit 7 of 11 from beyond the arc, 0 for 2 inside it, and finished with 21 points.

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LeBron James scores 27, Cavs tie NBA playoff record with 20 3-pointers in 107-90 win over Pistons

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 20, 2016

CLEVELAND: LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers tied an NBA playoff record with 20 3-pointers in their 107-90 Game 2 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. The Cavaliers hold a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 Friday night at Detroit.

The Cavs struggled to put away the Pistons in Game 1 and struggled again Wednesday until late in the third quarter. They trailed by 10 early in the game and still trailed midway through the third before a Kevin Love 3-pointer gave them the lead for good at 63-62.

Love’s basket started a flurry of five 3-pointers over the final 6:49 of the quarter. J.R. Smith’s 3-pointer in the final minute of the third – his seventh of the game – extended the lead to 82-68 entering the fourth and the Cavs coasted to an easy victory.

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LeBron James set to pass Michael Jordan in career postseason games

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 20, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James is still chasing Michael Jordan in championships, but after Wednesday he’ll officially have more postseason experience than his childhood idol.

James will play in his 180th postseason game Wednesday when the Cavs host the Detroit Pistons in Game 2 of their first-round series, passing Jordan and tying Dennis Johnson for 17th place all time.

“He closed out series faster than me,” James quipped.

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LeBron James dismisses feud with Pistons

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 19, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James is doing his best to keep this from becoming a personal feud between himself and any single member of the Detroit Pistons. James tried to diffuse talk about the officiating Tuesday after Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and rookie Stanley Johnson both complained about the way calls benefitted James during the Cavs’ Game 1 victory.

 “It’s not about me versus Stan,” James said. “I’m not having an individual matchup with Stan or an individual matchup with Stanley or any other Stan they can possess. It’s about getting my guys ready. That’s all that matters.”

Van Gundy was fined $25,000 for critical comments about officiating he made during the game. He softened his stance after the game and said he believed the calls evened out. Johnson, however, went a step further on Monday.

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Cavs 106, Pistons 101; Jason Lloyd's 19 thoughts on Big Three, coaching and changeups

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 18, 2016

CLEVELAND: Nineteen thoughts for 19 minutes from Matthew Dellavedova in the Cavs’ 106-101 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 of their first-round series Sunday…

1.      This isn’t how it was supposed to go. The win, sure, but not like this. The Pistons didn’t play like the Pistons. They didn’t run pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll. They didn’t put Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in vulnerable positions defensively.

2.      Instead, they spread the floor and made 3-pointers. They played like Stan Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic team from 2009, which assaulted the Cavs with 3-pointers from across the floor. It was expected then, but not now.

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LeBron James, Cavs' Big Three shine in tough 106-101 win over Pistons for 1-0 series lead

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 17, 2016

CLEVELAND: LeBron James had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Big Three combined for 81 points in a hard-fought 106-101 Game 1 victory Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.

The Cavs survived a 3-point onslaught from the Pistons, who made 15 3-pointers and shot 52 percent from deep.

Kevin Love had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Kyrie Irving had 31 points and six assists for the Cavaliers, who trailed by seven with 11 minutes left before rallying behind James.

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Cavs fall to Pistons 112-110 in overtime on night starters rest

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 13, 2016

CLEVELAND: These two teams are about to see a lot of each other over the next couple of weeks. They weren’t about to show anything meaningful in an irrelevant season finale.

Jordan McRae scored a career-high 36 points in a career-high 47 minutes, but missed two of three crucial free throws in the final second with a chance to tie the game in a 112-110 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

McRae limped to the free-throw line after he was fouled attempting a 3-pointer. He began cramping late in the fourth quarter and was hobbled throughout overtime after playing 47 minutes one night after he played 46 minutes in a Development League playoff game for the Canton Charge.

McRae scored seven points in the last 1:13 of regulation to tie the game at 103 and force overtime. His 36 points were the second-most by a Cavs player this season. LeBron James scored 37 points on three separate occasions this season.

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Cavs sign Dahntay Jones; LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith to rest in finale

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 13, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: The Cavaliers signed veteran guard Dahntay Jones on Wednesday as a postseason insurance policy for an injury-riddled backcourt. With both Iman Shumpert and Mo Williams fighting left knee injuries, Jones will serve as depth in case either experiences more problems.

Shumpert remains on target to play in the playoff opener this weekend against the Detroit Pistons, but Williams’ status remains unclear. Jones, 35, is a 12-year veteran with 49 games of postseason experience. He is a 6-foot-6 defensive specialist who spent the entire season with Grand Rapids of the Development League.

The Cavs hold a non-guaranteed team option for next season, a league source said. Jones has averaged 5.4 points in 622 career NBA games.

Jones appeared in 33 games for the Los Angeles Clippers last season and 11 more in the playoffs. Despite spending all season in the D-League, Jones never thought his NBA days were over.

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Cavs 109, Hawks 94; Jason Lloyd's 22 thoughts on LeBron, zero dark thirty and home-court advantage

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 12, 2016

CLEVELAND: Twenty-two thoughts for 22 first-quarter points in Monday’s 109-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks to clinch home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs…

1.      James Jones has read this script before. He was with LeBron James three years ago when James was obsessed with his own efficiency. James shot .565 that season and a career-best .406 from the 3-point line. They threw a parade that summer in Miami.

2.      Jones watches the way James has played these last few weeks and is reminded of that season. Over his last 10 games, James has been as good as he has been in any stretch of his career.

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LeBron James dominates, Cavs clinch home court with 109-94 win over Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 11, 2016

CLEVELAND: The road back to the NBA Finals officially goes through Cleveland.

LeBron James scored 19 of his 34 points in the third quarter and the Cavs beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-94 on Monday to clinch home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

James dominated the game, playing 32 of the first 36 minutes before sitting out the fourth. He shot 13 of 16 and staked the Cavs to a 90-75 lead before Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth. Irving scored 35 points, including a 3-pointer early in the quarter that extended the lead to 98-81. Irving scored 11 of the Cavs’ first 12 points in the fourth quarter – a big reason why James didn’t have to return. Irving finished with 13 points in the fourth quarter.

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Pregame: Hawks at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 11, 2016

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

Injury report: Cavs - Mo Williams (knee) out; Iman Shumpert (knee) out; Hawks - Tiago Splitter (hip) out.

Officials: Danny Crawford, Mark Ayotte, Ed Malloy (Replay Center: Brian Forte, Scott Twardoski, Leon Wood)

Series: Cavs lead 2-0

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Iman Shumpert to miss last two games, Mo Williams returns to Dr. James Andrews

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 11, 2016

INDEPENDENCE: Iman Shumpert will miss the final two games of the regular season after he had his left knee drained on Sunday, the Cavs said. He is expected to be ready for the start of the postseason next weekend.

Mo Williams, meanwhile, traveled to Florida on Monday to see Dr. James Andrews again for another consultation on his problematic left knee.

Shumpert fought problems with the knee for at least a week before finally sitting out Saturday’s loss at the Chicago Bulls. He finishes the regular season averaging 5.8 points while shooting .374 overall and .295 from 3-point range – all career lows after signing a four year, $40 million contract last summer. He missed the first six weeks after tearing a ligament in his wrist and appeared in 54 games, the second-fewest in his career.

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Bulls 105, Cavs 102; Jason Lloyd's 20 thoughts on last shots, turnovers and failed rallies

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 10, 2016

CHICAGO: Twenty thoughts for 20 points from Kevin Love in Saturday’s 105-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls…

1.      J.R. Smith and LeBron James both wanted the ball in their hands at various points late in the fourth quarter. James, for once, never had the chance and Smith missed on his. Kyrie Irving couldn’t hold onto the ball early in the fourth quarter, which was part of the reason the Cavs were even in this predicament.

2.      The top seed in the East is still theoretically up for grabs because the bench struggled miserably Saturday and the Cavs couldn’t close out a Bulls team down to their last chip and a chair. Coach Tyronn Lue wanted to be building momentum in these last few games prior to the postseason, but consecutive road losses likely isn’t what he had in mind.

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Cavs fall to Bulls 105-102 after cold fourth quarter, fail to clinch home-court advantage

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 9, 2016

CHICAGO: The Chicago Bulls are still alive. So, too, are the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the East. The Cavs will have to wait at least another day before celebrating home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova both air-balled potential game-winning 3-pointers in the final seconds and the Cavs lost to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday 105-102 following a furious rally

Smith caught an inbounds pass with a little more than a second left and turned and fired, but missed everything. Previously, Smith made a free throw to pull the Cavs within 104-102 with 8.4 seconds left and appeared to intentionally miss the second. Smith grabbed the rebound off his own miss and flipped to Kevin Love, who found a wide open Dellavedova behind the line. But Dellavedova missed the shot and Smith tried saving it, but couldn’t as the ball trickled out of bounds to return possession to the Bulls.

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Mo Williams leaves Cavs for another MRI on ailing left knee

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 8, 2016

CHICAGO: Mo Williams returned to Cleveland to have another MRI on his ailing left knee and will not be available Saturday when the Cavs play at the Chicago Bulls.

Williams previously missed a month because of the knee and has battled issues with it the last couple of years. He received a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in February, who diagnosed him with chondromalacia and gave him an injection.

Williams has played in six of the last seven games since returning, including five minutes in Wednesday’s loss at the Indiana Pacers. He returned to Cleveland after the game.

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Pacers 123, Cavs 109: Marla Ridenour's 23 thoughts on life without LeBron

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 7, 2016

Twenty-three final thoughts for No. 23, who was sorely missed by his Cavaliers teammates in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

1. It almost seems pointless to agonize any longer about the Cavs' record without LeBron James. In case you still care, the Cavs fell to 1-4 this season when James has been a healthy scratch and 4-14 when he's been sidelined over the past two seasons.

2. To continue to chalk up the losses and worry over the Cavs' failure to get over the hump without him only serves to prepare Northeast Ohioans for what their team will be like after James retires. We already know it's not pretty. There's no use stressing over what the Cavs can't do when James sits. It takes away from the pure magic he makes every day he's out there.

3. Better to embrace what the Cavs have with one of the game's top five players of all time for as long as they have him.

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Cavs resting LeBron James Wednesday night at Indiana

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 6, 2016

Cavaliers star LeBron James will rest for the fifth time this season Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as the team takes on the Indiana Pacers in a 7 p.m. game.

It had been expected that James would miss at least one of the remaining four regular-season games before the playoffs begin.

The Cavs are 1-3 this season and 4-13 over the past two seasons without James, the four-time NBA MVP. Their lone victory in 2015-16 came against the Dallas Mavericks, when they blew a 20-point lead but still prevailed.

Iman Shumpert will start for James.

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Cavs 109, Bucks 80: Marla Ridenour's 21 thoughts on ball movement, records and Kyrie's ankle

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 6, 2016

Twenty-one final thoughts to match J.R. Smith's 21 points on his record-setting night.

1. The feeling seems palpable now. The Cavaliers are starting to believe they are legitimate championship contenders. They're coming together at the right time just as coach Tyronn Lue wanted. And if there's one statistic that is a microcosm of what is happening on the court and the chemistry that is developing, it was the NBA record they tied Tuesday night in the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

2. By making 18 3-pointers against the Bucks, the Cavs ran their streak of games with at least 10 triples to 16. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that tied the Golden State Warriors' 2015 streak as the longest in league history. The Cavs had 12 in the first half and the 18 tied their season high, which they've reached two other times, most recently at the Los Angeles Clippers on March 13.

3. Kevin Love said that mark reveals much about the Cavs' ball movement and the deadly shooters they can be when they play that way. Against the Bucks, they shot 54.7 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range. At halftime, when the game was virtually decided with a 24-point lead, they'd hit 65.8 percent, 66.7 from 3.

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LeBron James named NBA's Eastern Conference player of month

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 5, 2016

As the statistical milestones continue to fall, Cavaliers star LeBron James was named NBA Eastern Conference player of the month for March, following up the honor he also garnered in February.

Averaging 25.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists, James became the only player in the league to reach 25, 8 and 7, respectively, in March. He shot .538 from the field (highest among players who averaged at least 23 points) and added 1.1 steals in 34.1 minutes of 14 games. The Cavs went 10-4 in that span.

The stretch for the 12-time All-Star included seven double-doubles and two triple doubles.

For James, it marked his 31st monthly honor, most in league history, and the 19th time it had gone to a Cavalier.

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Cavs 112, Hornets 103; Jason Lloyd's 15 thoughts on career highs, franchise records and J.R. Smith

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 3, 2016

CLEVELAND: Fifteen thoughts for 15 offensive rebounds in Sunday’s 112-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets…

1.      J.R. Smith matched his season high with 27 points Sunday and now has a career high for 3-pointers in a season. In another couple of days, he’ll hold the franchise record, too.

2.      Smith’s six 3-pointers Sunday gives him 190 for the season, surpassing his previous high mark of 189 two years ago during his final full season with the Knicks. He needs three more to break Wes Person’s club mark of 192 set during the 1997-98 season.

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J.R. Smith matches season high in Cavs' 112-103 win over Hornets

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 3, 2016

CLEVELAND: LeBron James had 31 points and 12 assists and J.R. Smith matched his season high with 27 points in the Cavaliers’ 112-103 victory Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets pulled within 96-92 after the Cavs led by 21 in the first half, but Smith and Kevin Love each made key 3-pointers late in the game and the Cavs held on to strengthen their hold on the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Love scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Smith made six 3-pointers on a day the Cavs were without Kyrie Irving to a sprained left ankle. They lead the Toronto Raptors by 3 1/2 games for home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs with five games to go.

Kemba Walker scored 29 points for the Hornets, including 15 in the third quarter when the Hornets chewed into the Cavs’ lead. Marvin Williams scored 22 points and Jeremy Lin scored 14 off the bench.

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Pregame: Hornets at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 3, 2016

Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: FSO

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

Injury report: Cavs - Kyrie Irving (ankle) questionable; Hornets - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoulder) out; Al Jefferson (quad) questionable.

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Cavs 110, Hawks 108 OT; Jason Lloyd's 20 thoughts on LeBron James, Irving's free throw streak

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 2, 2016

ATLANTA: Twenty thoughts for 20 points from Kyrie Irving in Friday’s 110-108 overtime victory against the Atlanta Hawks…

1.      When it was over, when the Cavs survived blowing a 21-point lead and LeBron James grabbed the game’s final rebound, he turned and flung the ball deep into the seats behind the opposite baseline as the buzzer sounded.

2.      It’s not the playoffs, but it’s April so it’s close enough. Given how well the Hawks have played lately and the fact this was the second night of a back to back, this counts as a quality win with the postseason looming.

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LeBron James' big night, Kyrie Irving's clutch free throws propel Cavs to 110-108 OT win over Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 1, 2016

ATLANTA: The two best teams in the East last season might still be the two best based on Friday night.

LeBron James had 29 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists while moving up the all-time scoring list and Kyrie Irving battled through another difficult shooting night to make a key 3-pointer and five clutch free throws in the final seconds of overtime to give the Cavs a 110-108 victory Friday night at the Atlanta Hawks.

The Hawks had a chance to force double overtime, but Al Horford’s 3-point attempt hit the back of the iron and James slung the ball into the first few row of seats behind the baseline at the other end as time expired.

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Pregame: Cavs at Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 1, 2016

Place: Philips Arena

TV: ESPN, FSO

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

Injury report: Hawks- Tiago Splitter (hip) out; Thabo Sefolosha (ankle) probable.

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