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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game Recap: Love Goes Berserk on Record-Setting Night

Kevin Love J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson

(Cleveland, OH) – Powered by Kevin Love’s blistering 34 points in the first quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 137-125, on a record-setting night at Quicken Loans Arena.

Love put on an unconscious shooting performance during the opening 12 minutes, connecting on 11-of-14 from the field, which included eight 3-pointers on 10 attempts. The new record came within three points of the 37 points that Golden State’s Klay Thompson had scored in a single quarter last season, but still established a new benchmark for the opening period.

“It was all in the flow of the offense. Nothing really out of the ordinary, just finding my shots, picking my shots,” Love said. “More than anything, Kyrie (Irving) and ‘Bron (LeBron James) were finding me all over the court. I just got in a really good rhythm, hit my first couple shots and from there, it was just tough to stop.”

Cleveland’s head coach Tyronn Lue spoke after the game about Love always being the focal point of the offense at the outset of the game.

“He’s playing great, playing aggressive. Every game, we post Kevin on the first play of the game,” Lue said. “We’re just trying to give him the ball, make him feel good.”

That shooting helped the Cavaliers take an early lead as they never trailed during the entire game, boosting what was a 14-9 lead into a 44-26 advantage by the final moments of the first quarter. By the time the horn sounded, the Cavs led 46-31 after hitting on 68 percent of their shots.

Portland was able to get the margin down to 11 with just over seven minutes left in the half, but 10 unanswered points by Cleveland restored the momentum. By the time halftime arrived, the Cavs maintained an 81-60 lead.

Love was held scoreless during the second period, finishing with 40 points and eight rebounds. However, Channing Frye took over for him by knocking down four 3-pointers of his own. For the half, the Cavaliers set a new NBA record by drilling 16 3-pointers, scorching the nets from long range at a 73 percent rate.

“We started running plays to get me open and it just felt good,” Love said. “Even in the second half, when the shot wasn’t falling, it still felt good.”

The Trail Blazers got the margin down to 11 on a number of occasions during the second half, but were unable to get it to single digits. However, Damian Lillard did his part in keeping his team in the game by scoring 40 points and handing out 11 assists.

“There are certain games where you have to outscore teams. When teams have it going and you can’t stop them, you have to put out your best offensive lineup and they have to stop us,” Lue said. “I think it’s hard to stop us when we have space on the floor and shooting. It’s all part of the flow of the game.”

As a team, Cleveland set a team record for most 3-pointers in a regular season game with 21 on the night. Love’s performance actually overshadowed another triple-double performance by LeBron James, who poured in 31 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

“We were very sharp at the start and obviously, we had a hot hand that we kept feeding,” James said about Love’s record-setting night. “When did I think he was in the zone? I think it was after he hit the fourth one.”

Kyrie Irving contributed 20 points and dished out six assists, while Frye was the only other Cavs player to reach double figures, tossing in 14 on the night, all of them coming during his second-quarter barrage.

The Cavaliers, who improved their season record to 11-2, will be back in action at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night when they host the Dallas Mavericks in a game set to tip off just after 7:30 p.m.

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