The Cleveland Cavaliers home opener on October 30, 2015 didn’t have all the excitement as the home opener on this date a year ago. Two things it did have, a potential playoff preview as LeBron James’ former team the Miami Heat were the opponent and a better result for the home team as the Cavaliers win 102-92.
James had his shooting stroke going early as he made six of his first seven field goal attempts. James finished with a game high 29 points along with five rebounds and four assists. LeBron played 34 minutes to keep within head coach David Blatt’s plan to limit his playing time to around 35 minutes a game.
Following Wednesday night’s win over the Grizzlies in Memphis, James told reporters that Kevin Love will be a focal point in the offense this season. That was certainly the case on Friday night. Love recorded his second straight double double, 24 points and a game high 14 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end. Love also connected on three of this seven attempts from three point territory. Love is certainly off to a hot start in his second season with the Cavaliers.
The only other member of the wine and gold to reach double figures in points was Tristan Thompson with 13 off the bench. Thompson also added nine rebounds and a highlight reel block on Chris Bosh in the fourth quarter. Thompson rejected Bosh’s baseline dunk attempt that brought the sold out home opener crowd at Quicken Loans Arena to its feet. Thompson, who just signed a five year $82 million deal last week following a lengthy holdout, appears to be back in the good graces of Cavaliers fans and making the investment by owner Dan Gilbert well worth it so far.
After battling to a 47-42 lead at halftime, the Cavaliers took control of the game in the second half. The wine and gold built a 20 point lead midway through the fourth quarter and cruised to win number two on the season.
The Cavaliers starting backcourt had a tough night shooting the basketball. Mo Williams was just two of ten for six points. J.R. Smith went just one for eight for two points. Starting center Timofey Mozgov had nine points and five rebounds.
The bench continues to shine early in the season in comparison to last year. Alongside Thompson’s 13 points and nine rebounds, Matthew Dellavedova recorded ten assists and five points and Anderson Varejao pulled down eight rebounds. Richard Jefferson only had five points but played some key minutes with James having two fouls in the second quarter and trying to avoid a third.
The Cavaliers shot 45 percent from the field. Cleveland was much better from the foul line, 18 of 21 for 86 percent after shooting under 70 percent in the first two games.
Dwyane Wade lead Miami with 25 points. Bosh added 16. All five Heat starters finished in double figures. The Cavaliers are off until Monday when they face the 76ers in Philadelphia.