DAILY DRIBBLE: The Cavs are embracing the three-pointer

Kevin Love - LeBron James - Kyrie Irving

NBA results, Nov. 24, 2016

– Memphis Grizzlies def. Philadelphia 76ers, 104-99 (2OT)
– San Antonio Spurs def. Charlotte Hornets, 119-114
– Phoenix Suns def. Orlando Magic, 92-87
– Cleveland Cavaliers def. Portland Trail Blazers, 137-125
– Atlanta Hawks def. Indiana Pacer, 96-85
– Boston Celtics def. Brooklyn Nets, 111-92
– Detroit Pistons def. Miami Heat, 107-84
– Toronto Raptors def. Houston Rockets, 115-102
– LA Clippers def. Dallas Mavericks, 124-104
– Utah Jazz def. Denver Nuggets, 108-83
– New Orleans Pelicans def. Minnesota Timberwolves, 117-96
– Golden State Warriors def. LA Lakers, 149-106
– Sacramento Kings def. Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-101

Are the Cavaliers out-Warriors-ing the Warriors?

The morning began with a bang, literally, as Kevin Love went nova, scoring 34 points in the first quarter of the Cavs’ win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

In the span of one quarter, Love equaled his career-high as a Cleveland Cavalier, set the new NBA record for most points in a first period, and came in second for most points in any quarter by a single player.

Love got his points thanks in large part to his playmakers finding him above the arc. He went 8-of-10 on three’s, and the Cavs as a whole finished 21-of-36 from downtown, a whopping 58.3 percent clip, en route to a 137-125 thumping.

The Cavs are far removed from the grind-it-out team injuries forced them to play as in the 2015 NBA Finals. Since Ty Lue became head coach, and as punctuated by the trade for Channing Frye, the Cleveland braintrust felt confident that they too could bomb away like the Golden State Warriors, that Kyrie Irving and LeBron James could approximate, even better Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. And by winning the 2016 Championship, they essentially proved it.

Through their 13 games so far, the Cavs are an East-leading 11-2, and they’re doing it by way of the three-pointer. They’re averaging the most makes, 13.5 per game, while shooting 39.3 percent on three’s, just behind the league-leading San Antonio Spurs. 39.1 percent of their field goal attempts are three’s, good for third, and they’ve hit at least 11 in all of their outings.

And yet…that sound you hear? That’s the Warriors, breathing down their necks.

Maybe it was unintentional. Maybe Golden State had been unable to hear the result of the Cavs game prior to them taking the court versus the Lakers. Who knows. But the Dubs certainly put on a scoring spree of their own.

Cleveland had 81 points at the half. Golden State came one shy with 80. The latter made up for it though by the end. The Blazers were able to score when both teams went to their benches, getting the final deficit down to just 12. In contrast, the Lakers, missing D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, and also having incurred the Warriors’ wrath with an early-November upset, got hit by a 43-28 fourth period. When the dust settled, the Warriors had ownership of the NBA season-high for a single-game output, 149 points.

You know, shortly after the Cavaliers had thought they had claimed with with their 137 markers.

Unlike the Cavaliers, the Warriors underwent a massive retooling during the offseason, bringing in Kevin Durant and revamping their bench. In terms of three-point shooting, yes, Golden State is surprisingly behind Cleveland, but after a rough start to the season, the Warriors have gone streaking. They’ve upped their offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) to a whopping 115.7, four better than the #2 team, the LA Clippers. Efficiency, seems to be the name of their game now. They had a whopping 47 assists, a new franchise record, on 53 shots, in their blowout of LA.

Cleveland and Golden State will only play twice in the regular season. While it seems like it’s destiny that they clash anew in the Finals, the Cavs themselves proved that destiny doesn’t mean squat, that inevitability isn’t always a reality when you’re setting records. But in the meantime, these two teams are seemingly battling the teams on their schedule, and then rushing back to their phones to check to see what the other’s latest result is.

*And of course, #1 on the list of most points in a quarter is Klay Thompson…a Golden State Warrior.

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

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