The Cleveland Cavaliers are enjoying their first three-game winning streak of the season and are finally feeling good about the way they’re playing. The Cavaliers will try to keep the good feelings coming and earn a fourth consecutive win when they make a brief stop at home to host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Cleveland dropped a 117-113 decision at Houston to begin the trip but knocked off Dallas two days later and came alive in the second half to pull out wins at New York and Charlotte. “Initially we started off the road trip in Houston and we felt like we played better ball,” LeBron James told reporters. “We gave ourselves a chance to win that game, we did a lot of good things, and I think that carried on throughout a lot of spots on this road trip. So 3-1, at this point, we’ll take that and hopefully use that momentum going back home and get a win.” The Clippers are not enjoying quite as much success of late and limp into Cleveland to begin a five-game road trip losers of six in a row. “My job is to make sure these guys know that we just can’t accept it. You may lose, but you can’t accept it,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “You have got to keep wanting to find a way to win that game. We are clearly in that stage right now. We’ve just got to find a way to squeeze out a win somewhere and then get another one, get another one and then get a guy back and then get another one and then now you’re fixed.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), FS Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (5-8): Los Angeles has been off since a 109-105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday in which it allowed 32 fourth-quarter points. Guard Austin Rivers went 3-of-13 from the floor in that setback and is trying to keep his team’s spirit up. “We can’t afford to keep our heads down,” Rivers said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The games keep coming. Even if you wanted to keep your head down, it’s not going to do you no good. We’ve got some guys playing their (butts) off but we’re losing games. So we’ve got to figure ways to help in other ways. ... We all can do more. I can go down the line. Everybody. It’s on us. It’s on the core of the group to get this done.”
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (8-7): James scored 31 points in the 115-107 win over the Hornets and took some time out after the game to praise the NBA’s new scheduling, which includes fewer back-to-backs on the road. “We’re old, man,” James, 32, told reporters. “Whenever we get a chance to stay over for the night this season, we have to do that.” James is averaging 28.3 points on 57.9 percent shooting with 8.7 assists and 7.3 rebounds in a league-high 38.1 minutes.
1. Rockets SF Danilo Gallinari (glute) and PG Patrick Beverley (knee) are both doubtful for Friday.
2. Cavaliers PG Derrick Rose (ankle) sat out the entire road trip and is questionable for Friday.
3. Los Angeles took both meetings last season after Cleveland won the previous four matchups.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 112, Clippers 102