Cavs look to finish road trip with winning record

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson watches as point guard Kyrie Irving drives against Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena.

David Richard/David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets picked up another win their last time out thanks in large part to Nate Robinson.

Coach Brian Shaw’s team has proven nearly unbeatable when the 5-foot-9 guard gets going.

Denver tries to keep rolling Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are hoping to conclude a season-high five-game road trip with a winning record.

After averaging 93.5 points during a season-worst eight-game losing streak, the Nuggets (20-18) have scored 117.7 per game in winning six of seven. Denver posted its third-highest scoring total of the season Wednesday in a 123-116 win at Golden State.

Robinson led the way with a season high-tying 24 points off the bench while Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler added 22 apiece. Randy Foye stayed hot with 21 and J.J. Hickson posted 13 to go along with a career-high 24 rebounds.

The Nuggets shot 54.2 percent and outscored the Warriors 28-9 in transition.

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"Every win at this point against somebody who’s ahead of us in the standings … it’s a big win for us," said Shaw, whose team sits two games out of the Western Conference playoff picture.

The Nuggets have won 10 straight when Robinson scores at least 15 points, and they are 11-2 when he has 14 or more.

"He can get hot at any time," Shaw said. "He’s a streaky player, and when he’s on a good streak, he’s as good as anybody in the league."

Denver had averaged 109.9 points during a 6-1 stretch against the Cavaliers before falling 98-88 in Cleveland on Dec. 4. Robinson had 14 points but Lawson was held to four while shooting 1 of 13.

A repeat performance could be hard to come by for Cleveland (14-25), which has gone 4-17 on the road to post the NBA’s second-worst winning percentage.

The Cavaliers dropped to 2-2 on their trek with Wednesday’s 108-96 loss to Portland. Luol Deng had 25 points and Kyrie Irving scored 21, but the Cavaliers recorded just 17 assists, dropping to 0-10 when posting that many or fewer.

Despite the loss, coach Mike Brown was pleased with his team’s effort against one of the West’s best clubs.

"The thing I like about what our guys did, I thought our guys competed and that’s something that we’ve been harping on," Brown said. "I also thought that our pace was really good throughout most of the game. So, hopefully we can continue with those two things, as well as passing the basketball, we had pretty good stretches of it at times, going into Denver."

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While Irving has been limited to 13.7 points per game on 32.6 percent shooting over the last three contests, he’s averaging 25.7 in his last three against the Nuggets. He scored 23 in last month’s victory.

The Cavaliers have given up an average of 113.0 points and allowed teams to shoot 50.0 percent during their trip. They could have difficulty containing Foye, who is averaging 19.2 points over the last five games after scoring 9.2 in the first 33.

The Nuggets are 10-3 when Foye scores at least 13. He has averaged 15.3 while going 20 of 44 (45.5 percent) from 3-point range during a seven-game stretch against Cleveland.

Lawson, third in the league with 8.7 assists per game, is averaging 11.5 over the last eight. The Nuggets have won nine of their last 11 at home when he dishes out at least eight.

The Cavaliers are 0-15 on the road when scoring 100 points or fewer. Denver, which has won four straight at home, has held foes to 93.3 per game in its last three there.