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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cleveland Cavaliers get First Win of 2015

Love leads Cavaliers past Grizzlies 106-76

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Cleveland Cavalierslooked like the defending Eastern Conference champs. The Memphis Grizzlies looked like a royal mess.

Game Leaders

Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Richard Jefferson had 14 points and Cleveland built a big early advantage and wrecked the Grizzlies' season opener with a 106-76 victory Wednesday night.
Cleveland capitalized on Memphis' shooting woes, building a double-digit lead in the first quarter and extending the margin to 32 in the fourth. The Cavaliers lost their season opener to the Bulls 97-95 on Tuesday night.
''Tough game for the home team,'' Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. ''. We did not have any timing whatsoever. We made a lot of uncharacteristic errors.''
LeBron JamesJared Cunningham and Matthew Dellavedova had 12 points each, with James 4 of 13 from the field. Jefferson was five of six, including all three 3-point tries, part of Cleveland shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 12 points apiece. Gasol and Tony Allen (six points) were the only Memphis players to make at least half their shots, and the Grizzlies shot 35 percent.

Memphis erased some of Cleveland's first-half advantage, but the deficit was too deep to overcome after halftime, particularly since the Cavaliers shot so well from 3-point range.''That's who we need to be,'' James said of the defense. ''That's who we are. In order for us to be who we want to be, we have to continue to defend at a high level.''
By the midpoint of the fourth quarter, both teams were deep into their reserves.
''We've got a long way to go,'' Jefferson said. ''Everyone does. This is not an indication. Memphis should not be worried. Chicago isn't the leaders. We are not a .500 team.''
Cavaliers: At one point late in the first half, the Cavs were shooting 57.1 percent from 3-point range (8 of 14), better than their overall percentage of 55.3 percent (21 of 38). ... The Cavaliers swept last season's two games against Memphis by an average margin of 18 points. ... The Cavs made 13 3-pointers. They were fourth in the league last year with just over 10 3-pointers a game.
Grizzlies: Like many teams, the Grizzlies held a moment of silence for Minnesota Timberwolvescoach Flip Saunders, who died Sunday from cancer. ... While Jeff Green started at SF for Memphis, he played only 7 minutes in the first half and Allen started the second half. ... Memphis beat the Timberwolves in last year's season opener, the only time Memphis has started 1-0 since the franchise moved from Vancouver in 2001.
Memphis made only four of its first 25 shots, contributing to a 21-point Cavs lead early in the second quarter.
James played 31 minutes against Memphis after playing 36 minutes in the season opener against Chicago. He missed two weeks during the preseason and received an anti-inflammatory injection while dealing with an achy back. ''I felt pretty good,'' James said.
RED PANDA RETURN: Red Panda, the unicycle-riding, bowl-flipping acrobat, made her return as halftime entertainment after missing the last two years with an injury. Despite the time off, the popular halftime act managed to kick all of the bowls into a stack on top of her head.
FINAL WORD: ''That was ugly. There ain't no other way to put it.'' - Allen.
Cavaliers: Play home opener Friday against Miami Heat.
Grizzlies: Travel to Indiana on Thursday.

LeBron James predicts Kevin Love will have 'hell of a season'

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Kevin Love better clear his schedule for mid-February.LeBron James says that the Cleveland Cavaliers' power forward is going back to the All-Star Game.
"We'll use Kevin however he wants to be used," James said after Love led Cleveland with 17 points and 13 rebounds in the Cavs' 106-76 win over theMemphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. "I told you Kevin is going to be our main focus. He's going to have a hell of a season. He's going to get back to that All-Star status."
After seeing his numbers take a hit in his first season in Cleveland, going from 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds in 2013-14 with Minnesota to 16.4 and 9.7 last year, Love has been a major bright spot through the Cavs' 1-1 start to the season.
Playing for the first time in more than six months after dislocating his left shoulder in the first round of the playoffs against Boston, Love has put up averages of 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in Cleveland's two games against Chicago and Memphis.
"He's the focal point of us offensively," James said. "I know I can go out and get mine when I need it. But I need Kev to be as aggressive as he was tonight, and when he rebounds at the level he did tonight, the shots will automatically fall for him."
James has 37 points through Cleveland's first two games, and Love has 35.
After a rocky first season that included James calling out Love on social media and Love picking Russell Westbrook over James for MVP, the pair met in Los Angeles for multiple lengthy conversations this summer before Love agreed to a max five-year, $113 million extension with the Cavs.
"I knew he'd be sharp when I had my conversation with him in Los Angeles in the offseason," James said when asked if he was surprised how in tune Love's game has been right out of the gate.
Love was asked what message he conveyed to James during their time together in L.A.
"Just that I can do more," Love said. "I think that he knew that. Since then I think everybody has really stepped up and asked what they can do in their respective roles. From a comfort standpoint, I just feel a lot, a lot better."
Love was named an All-Star in three out of his six seasons with the Timberwolves before finishing sixth in All-Star voting among all Eastern Conference frontcourt players last season and failing to make the team.
Cavs coach David Blatt, who last week said Love was in the best shape of his life, complimented Love for his production thus far.
"I've said that he was very active in terms of conditioning," Blatt said. "And obviously, in terms of the rehab, he couldn't and didn't get involved in contact work until just a few weeks ago. So as far as game rhythm, I think it's natural that he's a little bit behind as far as that's concerned. But you didn't see it tonight. He was not only active, but he was very efficient, and he's played two pretty good games for us after sitting out for a long, long time. A lot of credit to him."

Report: Cavs called players-only meeting in preseason

The phrase “players-only meeting” is never a great thing to hear in the NBA, but it can be healthy for a team to air out concerns. The season is only a day underway, and alreadyLeBron James is displeased with what he sees as a lack of focus in the Cavaliers’ locker room. Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Cavs addressed the issues in a meeting during training camp:
James wasn’t the only one who noticed something didn’t feel right about the team’s demeanor. Other players saw it too, prompting a team meeting before they took off for an exhibition game at Toronto on Oct. 17.
“[We were] just making sure everybody is doing the right thing and having the right goals in their heads,” the Cavs’ Sasha Kaunsaid of that meeting.
Players, I’m told, spoke up about not liking what some considered to be a increasingly loose, frolicsome atmosphere. James, I’m told, chimed in on the need to straighten up. Guidelines were given and a renewed commitment was established.
The weight of the world is on James’ shoulders. He knows how much a championship would mean to the city of Cleveland. The Cavaliers may have the talent and depth to contend, but unless they approach the season the right way, the amount of quality players won’t mean a thing.
“All I care about is raising banners,” James told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “Nothing else. That’s what I’m here for.”
More than ever before in his career, James is conscious of his own mortality. His back has already been giving him issues, and it’s likely only one or two more years that his body can physically hold up to playing at the level he’s been playing at. There’s no more room to screw around if they want to win a title before the window closes. That’s the message he’s sending.

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