The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a 43-point fourth quarter to complete their comeback against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, but they got the job done.
While the performance as a whole certainly wasn’t pretty, the Cavs improved their Eastern Conference-leading record to 46-23 on the year, while the lowly Lakers fell to 20-50.
In the process of the offensive-oriented, high-paced game, Cleveland received stellar performances from LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, a trio most commonly referred to as their “Big Three.”
James went 13-of-22 from the floor overall, including 3-of-8 from beyond the arc for 34 points and also added six rebounds and seven assists over 38 minutes of well-rounded play.
Irving dropped a game-high 46 points on an efficient 15-of-21 shooting, including 6-of-10 from beyond the three-point line. He also connected on all 10 of his free throw attempts in what was an absolutely dominant individual performance in his 38 minutes played.
After the game, Irving explained how wonderful it felt to have such a standout performance in which he could not be guarded.
Meanwhile, Love, in his second game back from the knee injury that kept him out for a lengthy period of time, saw 26 minutes and was able to post 21 points on 6-of-15 shooting and also added 15 boards in that span. He connected on 3-of-7 three-point shots and showed a willingness to get to the free throw line, connecting on 6-of-7 attempts from the charity stripe.
In a postgame interview, Love explained how getting back into the swing of things felt for him on Sunday night.
Overall, the Big Three combined for 101 of the Cavaliers’ 125 points on the night and took 58 of the team’s 85 shot attempts.
As you might imagine, the trio had never clicked to that extent in their history together.
In fact, the 101 points set a franchise record for the most points ever between three players in a single game.
Despite the many additions that Cleveland has made over the course of the season, the Cavaliers will live or die with James, Irving and Love taking on the brunt of the scoring load.
With Love now approaching 100-percent health once again, they have 13 regular-season games left to once again become the well-oiled machine that they were before his injury.
Sunday night was certainly a great start on that quest.
After Sunday night’s game, head coach Tyronn Lue noted his excitement to reporters, saying with “Kev working his way back and Korver being close, these last 12-13 games we can finally start figuring out our rotation and who's going to play, who's going to play with who. I think that will make things a lot better. I'm just excited about that.”
Despite the minor hiccups throughout the season, mainly due to untimely injuries to important players, the Cavaliers have been slightly overlooked. However, when it matters most with an NBA title in sight, LeBron and his teams are always ready to ball.
This year will likely be no exception.