Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers might still have some work to do on the defensive end before they're back to mid-season form, but right now their offense is humming on all cylinders.
For the second straight contest, the Cavaliers scored 128 points, holding off a feisty Celtics club to improve to 5-0 with a 128-122 victory on Thursday night at The Q.
The last time the Wine and Gold began a season 5-0 was the 1976-77 season – when Austin Carr, Jim Chones and Campy Russell were in a Cavs uniform and not in front of a microphone. Those Cavaliers began the season 8-0, and with a date with the winless Sixers this weekend, Cleveland could get even closer to eclipsing that mark.
The Cavs scored more than 30 points in each of the first three quarters – running their lead to as large as 20 points in the third quarter before the high-powered Celtics showed some offensive fireworks of their own, scoring 71 points in the second stanza and cutting Cleveland's lead to five midway through the fourth.
But what LeBron James started in the third quarter – notching 20 of his game-high 30 points – Kevin Love finished in the fourth, scoring 11 of his 26 in the final 12 minutes to ice the win for Cleveland.
James led six players in double-figures and again led both teams in assists. On the night, the four-time MVP went 12-for-22 from the floor, adding seven boards, 12 assists and a steal.
Love – who's tallied at least 18 points and five boards in every game this year – followed up with 26 points, going 6-for-15 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from long-range, and 12-of-13 from the stripe to go with eight boards and a pair of blocks.
Overall, the Cavaliers went to the line 37 times, canning 32 free throws – their third straight game of at least 30 trips to the stripe.
The Big Three comes up big again as six Cavaliers score in double-figures to stay unbeaten.
Kyrie Irving hasn't scored less than 20 points in any game since Game 2 of the NBA Finals last June and he added 23 points in Thursday's win – going 9-of-18 from the floor to go with four boards and six helpers.
Tristan Thompson hasn't slowed down much since the Finals himself and he went into the halftime locker room with a double-double already in hand. On the night, the sixth-year pro finished with 15 points and 14 boards – going 6-of-7 from the floor to go with a steal and game-high three blocked shots.
Iman Shumpert had his best offensive outing since last January, coming off the bench to finish with 15 points – like Love, doing most of his damage from the free throw line, where he went 7-for-8.
Channing Frye rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points – going 4-for-8 from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Boston's backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley combined for 56 points and impressive rookie Jaylen Brown added 19. Former Cavalier Tyler Zeller doubled-up for the Celtics, finishing with 11 points and 10 boards.
Turning Point — The Cavaliers haven't had many turning points through the young season; mostly because they've had the lead through most of it.
That was the case again on Thursday night, with the Wine and Gold grabbing the edge late in the first quarter, running it to double-digits by the end of the quarter and spending the rest of the night holding off the scrappy Celts.
Avery Bradley canned a pair of free throws with 5:25 in the fourth to get Boston to within five – 109-104 – but Love and James made a steady procession to the stripe over the next three minutes, extending Cleveland's lead back to double-figures with 2:35 to play.
By the Numbers – 2 … points that LeBron James needs to pass Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) and move into the NBA's all-time Top 10 scoring list. After LeBron surpasses the Dream, he'll set his sights on the Big E, Elvin Hayes, who sits at 27,313.
Quotable – LeBron James, on spreading the love on the offensive end …
“It's just the way I read and reacted to the game. I did a great job in the first half of setting my guys up, and once I started to do that a couple of lanes opened up for me because they were getting more closer to my guys. So just for me, it's all about feeling and seeing how the game is played. Boston pretty much did the same thing (defensively) in both halves.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers look to move to 6-0 when they travel to Philly for the first time this season – taking on the winless Sixers on Saturday night. Next week, the Wine and Gold welcome the Hawks to town on Election Night followed by a visit to the nation's capital two nights later for a meeting with John Wall and the Wizards. They return home for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the Hornets at The Q followed by the Raptors first visit to Cleveland this season two nights later.