CLEVELAND, Ohio — There was no disrespect to the game — or the opponent — this time.

Tea riders demolished the shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers for a 122-99 string-to-string victory Sunday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, raising their home record to a conference-best 21-5 This.

“We just take care of business,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said. “They were lessons we learned the hard way and we don’t repeat the same things. Thanks to our guys for getting out there and taking care of business.”

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A little over a week ago, the Cavaliers hosted the Golden State Warriors. That night, Golden State, playing for the second night in a row, rested six players, including Western Conference All-Star Stephen Curry, and three other regular starters. And yet, the Cavaliers were left embarrassed and outmatched by the Warriors B-team, an irresponsible performance that drew Bickerstaff’s ire. After the incomprehensible loss, Bickerstaff said his team disrespected the game.

Cleveland was in a similar situation Sunday night.

The Clippers, who entered the matchup riding a five-game winning streak, sat out leading scorers Kawhi Leonard (managing right knee injury) and Paul George (right knee soreness) following Saturday’s hard-fought victory in Atlanta. . Veterans Marcus Morris Sr., Reggie Jackson, John Wall and Robert Covington also sat out, leaving Los Angeles shorthanded with just 10 guys available, many of whom haven’t been used much this season.

With the right focus and mindset, Sunday had the makings of a non-competitive beatdown. That’s exactly what it was.

“We got to experience the other side of this game,” Cavs center Jarrett Allen said, referring to the Warriors’ loss. “Going out there and setting the tone, that was the main thing for us. During the Warriors game, we came away a little indifferent and in this game we wanted to go out there and send a message from the beginning.”

Cavs point guard Darius Garland opened the night with a feathery 3-pointer less than a minute into the first quarter, putting Cleveland up 3-0. He never gave up leadership. The Cavs pushed their lead to a game-high 40 points in the second half and then cruised to victory, with the starting five (Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley and Allen) watching the entire fourth quarter from the bench. . .

Putting on a show during Turkish Heritage Night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, swingman Cedi Osman, who still calls Turkey home and returns there every offseason, finished with a career-high 29 points. He made 11 of 13 shots and 7 of 7 from 3-point range.

In the final minute, on every Cavs offensive possession, the crowd and the bench rose in unison, chanting Osman’s first name and urging him to try another shot.

“I knew I had tied my career high, but at the end of the game, it was a 30-point game with a couple seconds left, so I didn’t see any reason to go and score two points.” Osman said after the win. “I felt that it would be disrespectful to the Clippers. Vert (Caris LeVert) was calling me to give me the ball, but I was just telling him to keep it. It was a fun game.”

Garland added 16 points and 10 assists in 23 minutes. Allen had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists. LeVert scored 12 off the bench.

Mitchell, sidelined for five of the previous six games, showed no signs of the groin pain that has been plaguing him. He scored nine of his 11 points in a game-changing first quarter. Mitchell made 5 of 9 shots, including 1 of 3 from deep.

All 12 players made at least one field goal. The Cavs had 35 assists on 44 shots made. They got 63 points from the discredited bench.

“We tried to play a great 48 minutes,” Osman said. “We remember what happened against Golden State. It’s a great team, but it was missing very important pieces, like its best players, and we didn’t play a good game against them. Tonight, it was the same situation. We took it more seriously and it all started with our headlines. They set the tone early, and then the second when we walked in, we did the same job. Big props for the starters and then we follow suit. It was a great match for us.”

Without their best players, former Cavs coach Tyronn Lue’s team shot just 41.6% from the field and 2-of-19 from beyond the arc. Young Brandon Boston Jr. finished with a team-high 24 points.

Usually the first game back home after a road trip is daunting. Not on Sunday. Not with the Clippers resting so many key players.

Let’s just say it’s a gift from an old friend: Ty Lue. One the Cavs gladly accepted this time.


Allen, barely known for his perimeter shooting, hit his first 3-pointer of the season late in the third quarter and celebrated by smoothing his afro with three fingers used to signal shots. Allen had missed his first seven attempts to open the season. He hadn’t hit a triple since Nov. 5, 2021.

“It felt good to finally see him come in,” Allen said. “I have been delaying the celebration for so long. I finally felt good doing it.”

Until next time

The Cavs will continue their homestand on Tuesday night against the Miami Heat. Tipoff is set for 7 pm

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By sbavh

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