Cavs look to bring win streak on the road
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for more after winning consecutive games for the first time this season, though they’ll first have to change their fortune on the road.
The Cavaliers seek their second win in 11 road games Friday night when Kyle Korver attempts to set the league record for consecutive contests with a 3-pointer for the Atlanta Hawks.
Following a season-worst five-game losing streak, Cleveland (6-12) has turned things around at home with back-to-back victories over Chicago and Denver. The Cavaliers are coming off perhaps their best performance, stopping the Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak in Wednesday’s 98-88 victory.
Despite being six games under .500, they haven’t fallen too far from the pack in the Eastern Conference, where only Indiana and Miami have winning records.
“That’s the good thing about being in the East right now and I’m sure every other team feels the same, but we truly believe we haven’t played our best basketball,” said coach Mike Brown, whose club is an East-worst 1-9 on the road. “Contrary to what anybody believes I do feel like we’re getting better.”
Cleveland is 2-18 away from home since the end of February, the last month it won more than two in a row overall.
While the Cavaliers have given up 92.0 points per game over its last five at home after holding the Nuggets to their lowest point total in 17 games, they’ve allowed an average of 110.6 over their last five on the road.
The Hawks (10-10) failed to score 100 in seven straight games before doing so in their last three.
They’re looking to move back above .500 following an impressive 107-97 win over the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Paul Millsap had 25 points and Al Horford added 21 for Atlanta, which had lost two straight and five of six.
After missing the previous four games with a rib injury, Korver tied Dana Barros’ 18-year-old record in the opening minute by hitting a 3-pointer in his 89th straight game. He finished with a season-high 23 points and hit 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, extending a streak that began last season in Atlanta’s second game.
Now he has a chance to move past Barros, who set the mark during stints with Philadelphia and Boston from Dec. 23, 1994-Jan. 10, 1996.
“It really is a team streak,” said Korver, 21 for 40 from 3-point range in his last eight games against Cleveland. “I’m not out there creating those shots. I don’t want to make a speech, but there are a lot of people to thank.”
Korver might not have much trouble getting the record against a Cleveland team that ranks second-to-last in defensive 3-point percentage (41.2) away from home.
The Hawks could have their hands full with the Cavaliers on the boards. While Atlanta sits near the bottom of the league with a minus-2.6 rebounding margin, Cleveland has outrebounded its last two opponents 99-79.
Tristan Thompson has 31 points and 35 rebounds over that span while Andrew Bynum has 34 and 17, respectively.
Kyrie Irving, who had 23 points Wednesday, has averaged 30.0 in his last three matchups with Atlanta while hitting 12 of 19 from 3-point range.
The Hawks have won five of six at home against the Cavaliers.