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The Cleveland Cavaliers thought they played well enough to defeat the Washington Wizards on Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena, only to be betrayed by their shooting eyes.
Cleveland made just 8-of-35 shots from beyond the 3-point line and connected on only 11 of 19 free-throw attempts in a 110-103 loss.
What a difference a night makes.
Turns out, the Cavaliers were correct. Twenty-four hours after dismal shooting performance, Cleveland regained its shooting eye in Memphis on Friday night against the Grizzlies.
The Cavaliers (35-23) made 11 of 29 from deep (37.9 percent) and a sparkling 21 of 22 from the line (95.5 percent) in besting Memphis, 112-89.
The 11-of-29 effort from 3 may not seem impressive, but considering Cleveland missed all six of its shots from long distance in the first quarter, it works. The Cavaliers made 11 of 23 from past the arc the rest of the way in overcoming a first-quarter deficit.
“During the timeouts, just telling the guys, especially at halftime, ‘I don’t know how we’re up, but we’re up after playing a bad half of basketball,'” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after the win.
Rookie Cedi Osman and subs Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Kyle Korver all made a pair of 3-pointers for Cleveland, while George Hill, J.R. Smith and John Holland all had one trey.
“Just a matter of shots went in tonight and they didn’t go in yesterday,” Hill said. “It was nothing different. We got active on the defensive end and turned some stops into some good transition buckets and things like that, but I think we just played a great defensive game in the second half.”
The Cavaliers turned the Grizzlies over 23 times, leading to 35 points for Cleveland, which was 13-of-24 on fastbreak chances, scoring 32 points, including several from deep. The Cavs made five from long distance to spark a 34-point second quarter and added another six in the second half to blow the game open. Cleveland had 26 assists on its 40 made field goals, led by LeBron James’ 11. James recorded his 11th triple-double of the season, also added 18 points and 14 rebounds. His assist and rebound totals were game-highs.
The 11 made 3-pointers boosted the Cavaliers’ record when it connects on 10 or more from deep to 32-14. Conversely, in games when Cleveland makes less than 10 from beyond the arc, it is just 3-9.