CLEVELAND — All good things must come to an end, including the Cavaliers’ franchise-record home winning streak.
Cleveland’s run of 23 consecutive victories at Quicken Loans Arena ended with a 101-91 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon. It was the Cavaliers’ first home defeat since their 2007-08 regular-season finale.
“It was nice when we had it,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “You’ve got to give the fans credit and you’ve got to give the guys in that locker room credit, but I don’t look at (ending) it as good or bad.
“The streak was a streak and I don’t look at it as much more than that at all.”
Not only was the Cavaliers’ 23-game home winning streak the lengthiest ever by a Cleveland pro sports team, it equaled the fifth-longest perfect start to a season in NBA history.
The only clubs ahead of them on the all-time list are the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (37-0), the 1995-96 Orlando Magic (33-0), the 1946-47 Washington Capitols (27-0) and the 1977-78 Portland Trail Blazers (26-0). Cleveland wound up tied with the 1949-50 Rochester Royals (23-0) for fifth place.
“I didn’t want it to happen because, obviously, we want to win every game,” Cavaliers forward LeBron James said. “But now we can move on and start another one.”
Cleveland’s home dominance didn’t go unnoticed by Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who piloted the Bulls to their league-record start 13 years ago at the United Center.
The six-time world champion coach told the Orange County Register that James gets the benefit of many foul calls because the atmosphere at “The Q” is intimidating to many NBA officials.
“(The fans) all wear No. 23 and help him throw that (expletive) up in the air when he’s at the scorer’s desk,” he said. “He gets away with murder, on top of it, on his home court.”
Jackson softened his stance upon arriving at the arena, but didn’t back down from his comments.
“This town has been in love with LeBron since he was in Akron playing high school basketball,” Jackson said. “It’s his home court, there are going to be more fans involved in every bump and grind that happens. Those things do affect the refs.
“There are some places that are more difficult to play. Obviously, this is the toughest court in the league to play right now because they won 23 in a row.”
Cavaliers guard Sasha Pavlovic will undergo an MRI today after spraining his right ankle while making a nice defensive play at the end of the first quarter. He played the first 12 minutes, but limped off the court and did not return.
l James converted a four-point play of sorts by making one of two free throws, then grabbing the offensive rebound of his miss and burying a 3-pointer.
l Cleveland power forward Ben Wallace missed two dunks.
l Lakers forward Trevor Ariza dragged the bottom of his foot across Cleveland guard Daniel Gibson’s face after a pile-up in the closing minutes. Gibson shot Ariza a stern look, but did not retaliate.
l The Cavaliers’ 23-1 home record remains tops in the NBA by a significant margin over Boston’s 24-4.
All about LeBron
Miami guard Dwyane Wade regained the NBA scoring lead as a result of James’ 16-point game against the Lakers. James had moved into first place on Saturday when Wade was held to 21 by Philadelphia. Wade is averaging 28.5 points per game, followed by James (28.2) and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (27.3).
l When James had his triple-double against the Knicks taken away by the NBA operations department two days after the Wednesday game, it was a case of déjà vu for “The Chosen One.” Three year ago, James lost a triple-double when the league ruled he was incorrectly awarded a 10th rebound in a home game against Miami.
His revised statistics in New York were 52 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists — still making him the first player to reach those numbers since Wilt Chamberlain on March 18, 1968, but keeping his career triple-double total at 20.
Call him Specs
Cavaliers forward Wally Szczerbiak, who broke his nose in the road win over the Knicks, played with a plastic face mask for the first time in his career. He scored a season-high-tying 16 points off the bench and made his first four 3-pointers.
“I had no problem at all with it,” he said. “Actually, it kind of focused me in on being on the court.”
Szczerbiak, who saw time at both forward spots and shooting guard, will be wearing the protection for the next 4-6 weeks.
“It’s a great mask that our training staff made for me,” he said. “It’s completely molded to my face and feels great.”
Odds and ends
Legendary Cavaliers announcer Joe Tait was back behind the mic after missing two games with the flu.
l Also in attendance were Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie and his father, Terry, a former Browns interim head coach.
l Alltel pitchman “Chad” accompanied the first winner of the nationwide MyCircle Hoops Giveaway to the game.
l Several hundred fans were lined up outside the arena waiting for the gates to open at 2 p.m., while others visited ESPN’s
NBA-decorated RV, which was set up on Gateway Plaza.
Contact Brian Dulik at (330) 721-4059 or firstname.lastname@example.org.