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Cleveland Cavaliers Win Two in a Row; Beat Denver Nuggets 98-88

December 5th, 2013 at 3:40 PM
By Pat Murphy

Erik Daniel Drost / / CC BY
It was a night of firsts for the Cleveland Cavaliers as the beat the Denver Nuggets 98-88 in their largest margin of victory this season. This game marked the first time all year the Cavaliers won back-to-back games, ending the Nuggets season-long seven-game win streak.

Along with the largest win and the first back-to-back victories, they also had season-high in 18 points from Anderson Varejao to go along with 13 rebounds off the bench and a career-high 21 rebounds from Tristan Thompson.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 23 points to go along with Varejao's output. Thompson scored 17 points and Andrew Bynum finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Cleveland won every quarter except the second except, where they only lost by three. They won the battle of the boards 58-43 over Denver, including 20 offensive rebounds. Thompson had nine of those offense boards and Bynum had four.

With a narrow six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavs started on a 9-2 run to push the lead to 88-75. Cleveland held at least an eight-point lead the rest of the game.

Varejao scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, including six during that crucial run to essentially put the game out of reach.

Three of the five Nugget starters scored in double figures. Randy Foye led the way with 16 points and former Cavalier J.J. Hickson added 15 and 11 rebounds. Wilson Chandler scored 13 points and eight rebounds while Nate Robinson scored 14 off the bench.

Ty Lawson, Denver's starting point guard, scored only four points in his matchup with Irving. He was effective distributing the ball, finishing with a game-high 11 assists.

This game showed what Cleveland is capable of when things are going well. They faced a hot team with a winning record who should be a playoff contender come the season's end. They used their inside presence as a mismatch against the Nuggets and had an efficient night, shooting better than 40%.

Defensively the Cavs were solid. There is still room for improvement, but they held Denver to 88 points and perhaps more impressively defended the guard position better than they usual.

Whether this is something fans can count on from here on out is yet to be seen. The team next takes to the court Friday night as they take on the Atlanta Hawks. This game will be on the road, where the Cavaliers have struggled, so it will be another challenge if they can extend their small streak.

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Tags: Anderson Varejao, Andrew Bynum, Atlanta Hawks, Basketball, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, J.J. Hickson, Kyrie Irving, Nate Robinson, NBA, Randy Foye, Tristan Thompson, Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler

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