LeBron James racked up his 17th triple-double of the season with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers came from behind to beat the Dallas Mavericks 98-87 on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
The Cavaliers (47-30) were down by four points entering the fourth quarter but used a 13-0 run over a four-minute time frame in the middle of the period to take charge and finish off shorthanded Dallas.
With the win, Cleveland remains in third place in the Eastern Conference standings with five games to play. The Cavaliers can finish no better than third, but are just a half-game up on Philadelphia and a game ahead of Indiana as those three teams battle for the No. 3-5 spots in the East.
The Mavericks (23-54) have already been eliminated from the postseason and are guaranteed to finish with their fewest amount of wins in a full season since the 1997-98 campaign.
Kevin Love added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers while Jordan Clarkson hit for 16 points and JR Smith scored 15 for Cleveland, which has won three games in a row and eight of its past nine.
Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 30 points and Dennis Smith Jr. added 14 for the Mavericks, who have lost three straight games.
The Cavaliers took a 48-47 lead to the locker room at halftime behind Love’s 10 points and 8 rebounds, and 8 points off the bench from JR Smith. James made just 2 of 9 shots in the first half and scored just six points but he dished out eight assists over the first two quarters. Cleveland outrebounded the Mavericks 28-18 in the first half.
Barnes paced Dallas with 12 points, with Nowitzki and Smith Jr. adding nine points each and Ferrell hitting for eight points in the first half.
Dallas led by as many as eight points, at 68-60, midway through the second quarter before the Cavaliers cut that advantage to 77-73 on a jumper by JR Smith with 4.3 seconds left in the period. Cleveland swooped to the front at 83-82 on a free throw and a jumper by Clarkson with 8:37 to play, and the Cavaliers pulled away from there.
The Cavaliers played without George Hill and Kyle Korver, while Dallas was without J.J. Berea, Wesley Matthews and Salah Mejri.
Next up for Cleveland is Tuesday’s home game against Toronto, the top team in the Eastern Conference standings. The Mavericks return home to host Portland, also on Tuesday.
—Field Level Media