The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly are not off to the start that many envisioned. But with their 110-101 win over the Nuggets in Denver on Friday, they looked as if they may be finally putting things together a bit better. The Nuggets put up a fight late, but the Cavs would hold them off and close things out for their second win on the season.
Two nights after putting up 31 in a heartbreaking 104-100 loss to the Utah Jazz, LeBron James led the Cavs with 22 points and 11 assists on Friday night. Kevin Love added 19 points of his own, as Kyrie Irving pitched in with 12 points and 6 assists.
Anderson Varejao, who was the target of a meme posted by the Nuggets that went viral on Thursday, had a season high 15 points on 6-7 shooting from the field. Off the bench, Dion Waiters put up 17 points in 24 minutes.
The lone bright spot for the Nuggets, who now move to 1-4 this season, was Randy Foye. In 33 minutes of time off the bench, Foye put in 28 points and dished out 9 assists. Foye was also instrumental, albeit in garbage time, in a run that almost brought the Nuggets back in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets outscored Cleveland 30-20 in the fourth quarter, but it just wasn’t enough to make up for Cleveland’s big first half.
The Nuggets also got 14 point from Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson each. Chandler also led Denver with 10 rebounds.
After losing back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday against Portland and Utah, the Cavs were able to close out their first big road trip of the season the same way they started it, which was with a win in Chicago. Now Cleveland will head home, where they’ll face New Orleans on Monday. The new-look Pelicans are at 2-2, and Anthony Davis has been a force so far this season. Be sure to check back with sportspicks.com handicappers for insight and information into this game before tip off.
As for the Nuggets, their future isn’t as bright. Just a few years ago, Carmelo Anthony left the Nuggets and LeBron James would soon depart Cleveland. But while James returned to his team and the future looks hopeful for the Cavs, the Nuggets are not nearly close to being in the same spot. While neither team has been nearly successful after their respective superstar left town, it looks as if the Cavs will be more likely to make a push at title contention long before the Nuggets do.
Despite the slow start, the Cavs still find themselves with the best odds in the league to win the 2015 NBA Championship at 13/5. Much farther down the list, the Nuggets find themselves at 85/1 odds. Next up for Denver is Portland, who are currently 3-2. The good news for Nuggets fans might be that this matchup will be the second part of a back-to-back series that starts in Los Angeles on Saturday night.