Cavs' Thompson injures thumb, ending NBA playing streak


It's four straight now for Cleveland, and it just kicked in the teeth the team it is fighting for the conference's top seed.

For a stretch of the second quarter during the Cavaliers' 114-91 blowout of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, LeBron James entered a plane of sheer dominance that quickly reminded everyone even remotely associated with basketball who the best player in the world is. Thomas had 17 points in the first half and Al Horford scored 12, but no other Boston player had more than five points in the first two quarters. "When we do that, we're a pretty good team". Cleveland also holds the tiebreaker with the Celtics for the top seed, if needed.

With 18 three-pointers total, the Cavaliers became the third team in National Basketball Association history to make 1,000 three-pointers in a season.

"We're gonna get him out there and just kind of see what he can do", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We knew we were coming to a hostile building tonight and just wanted to try and play our game. and we did that". Cleveland closes out the campaign when the Raptors roll in for Fan Appreciation Night next Wednesday night at The Q. Boston allegedly had a chance to acquire Paul George or Jimmy Butler at the trade deadline, and you have to wonder if on Wednesday the Celtics slightly regretted not pulling the trigger on such a move, particularly after George's performance against James earlier this week.

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The Cavaliers at times look like a exhausted bunch when they play elite teams, an eight-cylinder luxury vehicle wheezing to the finish line with half the cylinders misfiring. But the Cavaliers - who came in winners of three straight - showed them they're still the East's alpha dogs, taking their fifth win the last seven meetings against the Celts. If they can get all the way to where they want to be, they can go full Rudy T mode and remind the doubters to "never underestimate the heart of a champion".

"Their crowd is going to be great, and it's a very good team we're going to be playing against tomorrow", James said after the Cavaliers' 122-102 win against the Orlando Magic Tuesday.

That's not the impression you would have gotten if you'd asked Cavaliers star LeBron James, who offered little more than a ho-hum about Wednesday's showdown.

Perhaps it is just seeing that fabled Boston green that makes him channel his inner Hulk vs. the C's, but know that LBJ is going to be in the mindset of this being Game 7 vs.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been on a unusual path ever since the All-Star break ended. He also did it on the defensive end, notably stuffing Marcus Smart with a two-handed block.

A second half points spree proved to be the foundation of the Cavs success, with 38 points helping ensure a 15-point cushion at halftime.

Cleveland won easily despite not having Tristan Thompson. Thompson's streak started when he was a rookie in February 2012. It is the first game that Thompson has sat out since he was a rookie back in 2011-12.

LeBron James continued to torment the Celtics - leading both squads with 36 points on 14-for-22 shooting, adding 10 boards, six assists and a pair of blocked shots.

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J.R. Smith missed almost three months following thumb surgery; Kevin Love underwent a knee operation; Kyle Korver just returned after missing 11 games with a sore foot; and center Andrew Bogut broke his leg in the first minute of his debut with Cleveland, an injury that will be felt even more with Thompson out.