It was a record setting night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as the Cavaliers extended their winning streak to nine torching the Raptors 114-94 setting a NBA record nine straight wins by 12 or more points.
“It’s absolutely special. In this league it’s very competitive and I know I’ve been through my fair share of games in this league and it’s tough to win (by double digits). To do it nine straight times on the road and at home, it’s great," said LeBron James.
Cleveland has now improved their record to 18-3 winning 17 of their last 18 games and 12-0 on their home court.
The Cavaliers wasted no time jumping on the Raptors as two quick steals by the Cavs led to a couple of monster dunks by King James to start the dunk-fest he had on the night.
The second steal was by LeBron making him the all-time steals leader in team history No. 735 formerly held by Mark Price.
The Cavaliers defense remained solid holding the Raptors to 33 percent shooting in the opening quarter led 29-19.
In the second period the Cavs built a 19 point lead but lost their focus for a bit getting three technical fouls called against them (assistant coach Mike Malone, Ben Wallace and James) and allowed the Raptors to climb back in the game on a 16-6 spurt to cut the lead to 51-42.
With 2:01 left in the quarter Zydrunas Ilgauskas became the all-time rebounding leader in team history snatching No. 5,228 passing Brad Daugherty for the record.
“It felt great,” smiled Z. “It was everything I anticipated. It’s been a long road, but I enjoyed it and I cherish it. After I’m done playing, it’ll be one of the top moments that I’ll remember from my career here.”
King James ended the quarter in spectacular fashion hitting a three-point shot from about 30 feet to give the Cavs a 59-51 lead at the half. Bron scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half.
In the second half the Cavs came out on fire going on a 23-4 run in the quarter. This is what championship caliber teams do regroup make the necessary adjustments and take over games.
“We handled it like a championship team. We came in, we watched film and we talked about it. (We said) ‘Let’s be quiet and let our defense do the talking.’ You saw it, we went on that 23-4 run.” Mo Williams on starting the second half.
After that the Cavs were on cruise control and once again were able to rest most of the starter's in the fourth quarter. For LeBron this is the sixth time in the last eight games during the current streak that he has been able to rest in the final period.
Wally Szczerbiak had 16 points, Big Z finished with 13. Williams also had 13 points and nine assist on the night.
Once again the Cavs stifling "D" controlled an all-star holding Chris Bosh to just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting. The Raptors were led by Joey Graham's 17 points and Jose Calderon had 14.
Coach Mike Brown was quite pleased with his team on the night, “Two guys, Delonte West and Mo, did a terrific job of moving the ball around the team. For those two guys to have 17 assists between the two of them and one turnover is a phenomenal floor game. Those two guys were really special tonight.
I thought earlier in the game, in the second quarter, we got distracted by the referees a little bit. As a group, one of the things I talk to our guys about is having a bunker mentality. What I mean by that is, we can’t worry about any outside distractions.
The only thing we need to worry about is us as individuals and us as a team. When we got distracted by the officials, it kind of took us away from what our objective was for a little bit. The exciting part about it is our group as a whole bounced back; I didn’t even have to say anything to them. They just police themselves and come out playing the right way in the second half.”
Next up for the Cavs is two games against the Philadelphia 76ers starting Wednesday in Philly then the two teams will fly back to Cleveland to play on Friday at the Q.