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

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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LeBron James, Cavs not ready to decrease his heavy minutes

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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Cavs 140, Wizards 135; Jason Lloyd's 32 thoughts on LeBron's shot, Love's pass and more trade rumors

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 7, 2017

WASHINGTON: Thirty-two thoughts for 32 points from LeBron James in Monday’s 140-135 overtime win against the Washington Wizards…

1.     It’s hard for an off-court headline to trump a game like this, but the idea that LeBron James is willing to put a shipping label on Kevin Love and send him off to New York will do it.

2.     The New York Daily News’ report that James is pushing the front office to acquire Carmelo Anthony even if the price is Love was refuted during and after Monday’s game. Then James torched the report after the game.

3.     “It’s trash,” James said. “And the guy who wrote it is trash, too, for writing that, especially during the game like that.”

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Cavs vehemently deny report LeBron willing to trade Love for Carmelo; LeBron calls it 'trash'

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 6, 2017

WASHINGTON: The Cavaliers vehemently denied a report both privately and publicly Monday that LeBron James is in favor of trading Kevin Love if it means obtaining Carmelo Anthony.

“It’s trash. And the guy who wrote it is trash, too, for writing that, especially during the game like that,” James said following the Cavs’ 140-135 overtime victory against the Washington Wizards. The story broke during the game. “It’s always about outside noise and that’s just outside noise for us. We gotta focus on what needs to be done and that’s to continue to compete for a championship. And we got who we got. Our GM will do a great job of figuring out if we need something else, but right now we’re in a good place.”

The New York Daily News reported that James is pushing for the Cavs to acquire Anthony even if it means giving up Love, who scored a team-high 39 points, his second-highest scoring game of the season, and grabbed 12 rebounds in Monday’s win.

“We’re going to trade him tonight,” coach Tyronn Lue joked after the game. “Kevin should be happy that teams want him. But he’s not going anywhere.”

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Love scores 39, LeBron passes for career-high 17 assists in thrilling 140-135 OT win vs. Wizards

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 6, 2017

WASHINGTON: LeBron James brought the Cavs back. Kyrie Irving finished things off.

James’ remarkable 3-pointer in the last second of regulation and Irving’s 3-pointer from the wing – essentially the same shot from the same place on the floor that he made in Game 7 of last year’s Finals – carried the Cavs to a thrilling and exhausting 140-135 victory Monday over the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center.

Kevin Love scored 39 points, his second-highest total of the season, and James fouled out during the first minute of overtime with 32 points, a career-high 17 assists and seven rebounds. Irving scored 23 points, including 11 in overtime with James on the bench. The Cavs rallied from a five-point deficit in overtime to win.

The win snapped the Wizards’ 17-game home winning streak after they made it clear prior to the game how important this night was. They had won their last seven games overall, too. Now the Cavs have won five of their last six.

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