In his 34-point first quarter on Wednesday, Kevin Love passed up his first look on a three-pointer. It was the Cavaliers’ second possession of the game, and as he caught it off a pick-and-roll with Miles Plumlee a few feet off him, Love shuffled it back to LeBron James.
He got the ball back within seconds and buried the long ball. He didn’t pass up any more shots that quarter.
Love’s 34 points tied his Cavaliers career high, set an NBA record for first quarters and was the second-most points ever scored in a quarter, period. His eight three-pointers in a frame came short of only Klay Thompson’s nine (in Thompson’s NBA record 37-point quarter). It could have been even better — Love rimmed out a relatively open three-pointer from the top of the key with about a minute left, and on the quarter’s final possession, Kyrie Irving didn’t pass to Love as he was breaking open.
Cleveland ended up with a 137-125 win against Portland, a game that featured both teams shooting more than 50 percent. Love finished with only 40 points, scoring six points in the third quarter and attempting just six more shots total after the first quarter. If nothing else, it proves that no matter how many points Love scores, he’s always liable of being forgotten in the corner by the Cleveland offense.
OK, OK, we’re joking around now — the Cavaliers offense is running even more smoothly than last season. The team’s boasting an offensive rating up two whole points, and their 36-percent three-point shooting last year has risen to 39 percent. That’s the beauty of it. The Cavaliers don’t prepare for Love scoring 34 in a quarter or Channing Frye dropping 15 in the second or Irving throwing up 35 on a nightly basis. They just take whichever one comes, and someone always comes through.
The only player that has to show up nightly is James. He’s the heart and the soul of the Cavaliers. And the lungs and brain and kidneys and liver and esophagus an— let me stop here and you can just read a list of all the essential organs for the human body on Wikipedia here. James is incredibly nightly, orchestrating the Cavaliers on offense in a manner that seems nearly effortless.
On Wednesday, James did all that: 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting, 13 assists including 12 in the first half alone, and 10 rebounds to give him his 44th career regular season triple-double. That absurd stat line will be overlooked by Love’s record-setting evening, but that’s fine with James. His excellence has been so normalized, so expected, that he still often doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
The love that Love — sorry — is getting is totally deserved, to be sure. He came a rimmed out three-pointer from tying Thompson for most points ever in a quarter, which is totally wild. After enduring all the trade rumors and the playoff injury and the talk that he was underperforming, he deserves this moment.
And then, as the season moves along, someone else on the Cavaliers will get the next moment. And then another someone. They’re set up so they all shine.
Anthony Davis dominated the KAT vs. Brow duel.
Minnesota vs. New Orleans was a national television game on Wednesday. For real.
That’s how hyped we all are for a future of the league that involves Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, it was just that: still in the future.
Davis rolled over Minnesota almost single-handedly with a 45-point, 10-rebound evening. The five-year veteran has scored more than 30 points in seven of his last nine outings, and he’s averaging 31.3 points per game on the season. It’s his second 45-point game of the year, and he accomplished on 17-of-27 shooting. What more can you ask from him?
The win puts New Orleans on a four-game winning streak, which coincides with Jrue Holiday’s return. The two are obviously related — Holiday’s shot creation and paint penetration open up the Pelicans’ offense across the board. Even on Wednesday, when Holiday had a measly seven points off the bench, the offense still marched for 117 points in the win.
Towns was average and Andrew Wiggins — on 2-of-19 shooting — was putrid. That’s alright for Minnesota, a young team that still looks awfully young a lot of the time. Tom Thibodeau has only had a few months with this roster. By the time he’s had them for a year or two, you can only salivate at what they might be.
The Warriors Warriors’d.
Golden State beat the Lakers by a score of 149-106. Yes, one-hundred and forty nine. That’s a real number of points scored in 48 minutes.
Stephen Curry had 31, Kevin Durant 28, Klay Thompson 26, and Ian Clark 21. Every player but Patrick McCaw (0-of-1 shooting) scored. The team shot 62 percent while knocking down 19 triples. They had 47 assists on 53 made shots. That’s dumb as hell that an actual NBA team can do something like that.
Luke Walton on the Warriors 47 assists on 53 made field goals, called it one of the most beautiful stats he’s ever seen— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 24, 2016
This is when you might look to me for analysis. I, uh, don’t have anything for you. The Warriors are good at shooting the hoops. That’s all I can muster here.
Wednesday’s top performers
The entire Cavaliers (137 points) and Warriors (149) offenses
Don’t make me pick anyone individually.
Dwight Howard (23 points, 20 rebounds)
The Dwight renaissance is very real.
Damian Lillard (40 points on 21 shots, 7 rebounds, 11 assists)
Dame’s a killer, although this isn’t enough against Cleveland.
Not James Harden (29 points, 6 rebounds, 15 assists)
Harden is not a top performer despite his 29-6-15 line, not with 12 turnovers, minus-12 on the night and a loss. Sorry James, better luck next time.
Lil CP3 (very adorable)
The Clippers added another Paul to the bench tonight. pic.twitter.com/6vTrQU3KcI— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 24, 2016
Other important things from Wednesday
Joel Embiid got really mad at a chair after getting pulled from a game.
happy thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/V3RPPYD308— Mavs Moneyball (@mavsmoneyball) November 27, 2014
Raptors 115, Rockets 102 (Raptors HQ recap | The Dream Shake recap)
Pistons 107, Heat 84 (Detroit Bad Boys recap | Hot Hot Hoops recap)
Celtics 111, Nets 92 (CelticsBlog recap | Nets Daily recap)
Hawks 96, Pacers 85 (Peachtree Hoops recap | Indy Cornrows recap)
Cavaliers 137, Trail Blazers 125 (Fear the Sword recap | Blazer’s Edge recap)
Suns 92, Magic 87 (Bright Side of the Sun recap | Orlando Pinstriped Post recap)
Spurs 119, Hornets 114 (Pounding the Rock recap | At the Hive recap)
Grizzlies 104, 76ers 99 (Grizzly Bear Blues recap | Liberty Ballers recap)
Clippers 124, Mavericks 104 (Clips Nation recap | Mavs Moneyball recap)
Jazz 108, Nuggets 83 (SLC Dunk recap | Denver Stiffs recap)
Pelicans 117, Timberwolves 96 (The Bird Writes recap | Canis Hoopus recap)
Warriors 149, Lakers 106 (Golden State of Mind recap | Silver Screen & Roll recap)
Kings 116, Thunder 101 (Sactown Royalty recap | Welcome to Loud City recap)