Basketball: Cavaliers get wings clipped again

Chris Paul #3 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Los Angeles Clippers react against the Brooklyn Nets in the first half at Barclays Center on Nov 29, 2016, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Chris Paul #3 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Los Angeles Clippers react against the Brooklyn Nets in the first half at Barclays Center on Nov 29, 2016, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. PHOTO: AFP

Cleveland lose second straight game as the Clippers end three-game losing streak

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • LeBron James is not concerned yet. The Cleveland Cavaliers' losing streak is at only two. If it gets to three, he said, there will be something to talk about.

The Los Angeles Clippers know that feeling well. They passed for a season-high 33 assists on Thursday in a 113-94 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the Cavaliers that ended their own three-game losing skid.

"We played the right way. It was important for us to see what it felt like to win a game," Clippers guard Chris Paul said.

"When you're running off (wins) like we were and then you lose three in a row, you need to get that feeling back just to get our locker room back right."

J.J. Redick scored 23 points for the Clippers (15-5), Paul added 16 points, Blake Griffin scored 13 points and passed for a season-high 11 assists and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 15 rebounds.

The Cavaliers (13-4) dropped their past two games by a combined 36 points.

  • 17+19=36

    Points margin that NBA champions Cleveland have lost by in their last two games, 17 to Milwaukee Bucks and 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and James contributed 16, but Cleveland passed for just 12 assists while committing 18 turnovers. They trailed by 27 points in the fourth quarter, marking their largest deficit of the season.

"They played desperate basketball with them losing the last three," James said.

"They played some good ball, and we've got to figure it out, which we will."

The Cavaliers opened the second half with three consecutive turnovers, followed by missed shots on their next five possessions.

They did not score their first basket of the second half until nearly four minutes into the third quarter. By then, the Clippers' lead was 16.

Cleveland forward Kevin Love scored 16 points but grabbed only four rebounds. He did not get his first rebound until midway through the third quarter on a night when the Clippers posted a 47-36 rebounding advantage.

The Cavaliers shot nine-of-24 from the three-point arc, ending their NBA-record streak of 16 consecutive games with at least 10 three-pointers.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue thought a lot of the problems stemmed from the way the Clippers switched on pick-and-rolls, forcing Cleveland to play a lot of one-on-one.

"If you're going to live the same way, you've got to be able to die the same way," Irving said.

"We have confidence in our one-on-one abilities. We're still going to keep going to that no matter what. We're not going to lose confidence in one another."

The weary Clippers were playing their fifth game on a six-game road trip. They fell in double-overtime to the hapless Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday - the same night the Cavaliers were blasted by the Milwaukee Bucks.

"It's who we are. I really believe that," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of the team's performance on Thursday. "We actually played to our potential. We had some adversity, which is great. Chris got (into) foul trouble and we extend the lead. It was a team win."

Rivers believes playing the defending champions got his players' attention.

"They get your respect," the Los Angeles coach said of the Cavaliers.

"They get your attention. You could see it in walkthrough this morning. Not a lot of talking. There was a lot of listening, which is good."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Cavaliers get wings clipped yet again'. Print Edition | Subscribe