The Cleveland Cavaliers have found plenty of wins and some 3-point shooting on their road trip. The latter certainly contributes to the former, and a lot of the credit can be linked to a recently acquired deep threat.
With Channing Frye – among others – heating up from downtown, the Cavaliers look to put the finishing touches on a sweep out West with Monday night's visit to the Utah Jazz.
Cleveland (47-18) acquired Frye from Orlando at the Feb. 18 trade deadline, but it seemed he was the odd man out of coach Tyronn Lue's rotation after being used sparingly his first three weeks.
Two weeks ago, the 10-year veteran was left on the bench twice and logged less than six minutes in another game. He said he was still living out of a Cleveland hotel room with his wife and two children at the time.
He seems to have found a home on the court out West. After making 1 of 3 3-pointers in 10 minutes during Wednesday's 120-111 win in Sacramento, Frye has hit 5 of 7 in each of the last two games.
He started in place of the injured Kevin Love on Thursday and made 8 of 10 shots overall for a season-high 21 points in 24 minutes of a 120-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Frye followed with 15 points in 20 minutes off the bench in the same arena in Sunday's 114-90 rout of the Clippers.
He added 12 rebounds between the two victories.
''Channing coming out and making those 3s kind of became contagious,'' Lue said.
It spread quickly as the Cavs made 16 of 35 against the Lakers and matched a season high by draining 18 of 37 three days later.
Against the Clippers, J.R. Smith hit 5 of 8, LeBron James made 3 of 4 and Matthew Dellavedova sank both of his. That helped Cleveland make 18 3s in a single game for the fifth time in franchise history, all of which have come in the last two seasons.
''We're getting into form right now,” said James, who sat out the fourth quarter Sunday. “We've got a great rotation going right now. The guys are healthy and we're just trying to play the game the right way.''
Cleveland improved to 20-6 against the Western Conference, including 10-4 on the road.
James finished with 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in a 118-114 home victory over Utah on Nov. 10, the Cavaliers' fifth win in the last six games of this series.
However, the Jazz (31-35) have taken five of the last six in Salt Lake City.
Utah is one of the league's top defensive teams by holding opponents to 97.3 points per game – just better than Cleveland's 97.5 – so finding space to shoot might be more difficult. However, Sacramento made 9 of 21 in Utah's 108-99 road win on Sunday.
That victory gave the Jazz two straight after dropping nine of 12 out of the All-Star break. They trail Houston and Dallas by two games for the West's final two playoff spots.
''This was a very important, a big-time win for us,'' Rudy Gobert said. ''We have 16 games left and we're going to try to win all 16.''
Derrick Favors had 28 points and 14 rebounds against the Kings while Gordon Hayward scored 27.