Basketball: Love's huge start blazes Cavs' trail

Cleveland forward Kevin Love going up for a basket, as Portland forward Meyers Leonard attempts to block him at the Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers power forward netted 34 of his 40 points in the first quarter, helping them to a 137-125 win.
Cleveland forward Kevin Love going up for a basket, as Portland forward Meyers Leonard attempts to block him at the Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers power forward netted 34 of his 40 points in the first quarter, helping them to a 137-125 win.PHOTO: REUTERS

CLEVELAND • Kevin Love scored 34 first-quarter points, the second-most in any quarter in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, on his way to a season-high 40 points on Wednesday as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 137-125.

The 28-year-old power forward made 11 of 14 field-goal attempts in the first quarter, including a career-high eight three-pointers from 10 tries.

"I had a good rhythm, made my first couple of shots," Love said. "And it was on from there."

The NBA record for points in any quarter remains the 37 points by Golden State's Klay Thompson in the third period against Sacramento two seasons ago.

LeBron James contributed 31 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his 44th career triple-double as Cleveland improved to 11-2, while the Trail Blazers fell to 8-9.

Love could have matched Thompson for the quarter-scoring mark but clanked a three-point shot off the rim with 75 seconds remaining in the opening period.

"I kept trying to go to him. I wanted him to continue to touch it," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

"I thought we did a good job trying to find him. I knew the record was 37.

"We kept looking for Kevin and he kept making shots, but we weren't able to get him to 37."

Damian Lillard had 40 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to lead Portland.

In Oakland, Stephen Curry scored 31 points while Kevin Durant added 28 to lead Golden State to a 149-106 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers (8-8).

The Warriors made a franchise-record 47 assists - on 53 baskets - which is the most in the NBA this season. It is also two more than their previous record dating all the way back to 1994.

"That's pretty crazy. We almost have more assists than rebounds. That's sick," Durant said.

"That shows we're getting more comfortable with each other."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has repeatedly noted that it might take time for his team to really click, yet at 15 games in, Golden State (13-2) have been in top form.

"I mean 47 is a shocking number but getting 30 every night is not surprising," he said.

"We don't have to do anything spectacular, just keep the ball moving."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'Love's huge start blazes Cavs' trail'. Print Edition | Subscribe