CLEVELAND – Chris Paul scored 30 points, but the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Los Angeles Clippers 115 -102 at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Los Angeles Clippers entered the game winners of 11 out of their last 12 games. However, pundits make quick note that the Clippers faced only one team with a record above .500 during that stretch. Therefore, Thursday's matchup with the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers would be a true test to see where they were at among the NBA's elite.
The Clippers started strong behind 12 first quarter points for Chris Paul and Los Angeles jumped out to an early 31-28 lead. They collapsed in the second quarter as the Clippers bench could not score against the Cavs starters led by LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kecin Love.
The Cavaliers pulled away in the third quarter and extended their lead to 16 points heading into the fourth quarter. The Clippers cut the lead to six, but LeBron and the Cavaliers pulled away and won by 13 points.
Both James and J.R. Smith led the Cavaliers with 22 points each. Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Kevin Love chipped in 18.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 30 points and 9 assists. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 13 rebounds. J.J. Redick scored 17 points as no other starter scored in double figures for Los Angeles.
Chris Paul committed consecutive turnovers at the end of the second quarter that led to back-to-back buckets by LeBron James and the Cavaliers went up by 7 points and never looked back.
MVP OF THE GAME
Chris Paul. The Clippers point guard appeared to be the only one who showed up for the game at Quickens Loan Arena. Paul scored 30 points in a losing effort.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Jamal Crawford surpassed Nate "Tiny" Archibald (16,481) for No. 93 on the NBA's All-Time scoring list
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Clippers down 16 headed to the 4th -- hard to see how they'll come back in this one with Griffin sitting over there in a suit — Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 22, 2016
Is there a phone booth nearby?
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
That Chris Paul cross over though….
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Blake Griffin missed his 12 consecutive game with a torn left quadriceps injury….Chris Paul reached the 30-point mark for the 3rd time this season…DeAndre Jordan recorded his 10th consecutive double-double, the longest active streak in the NBA.
Los Angeles Clippers (27-15, 12-8 on the road) 2nd in the Pacific Division.
Cleveland Cavaliers (30-11, 16-2 at home) 1st in the Central Division.
The Clippers dropped the first game of their five-game road trip and travel to the Big Apple for a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
The Cavaliers will host the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at 5:30PM PST.