A devastating 18-1 third quarter run by the Dallas Mavericks helped send the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first preseason loss as the Mavs knocked off the Cavs, 108-102, at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night.
LeBron James had hit his first field goal of the game on a three-pointer less than two minutes into the third quarter to give the Cavs a 63-62 lead. However, over the next six minutes of action, a combination of turnovers and missed shots helped provide Dallas with an 80-64 advantage.
Cleveland would get no closer than three on four separate occasions, the last coming on an A.J. Price three-pointer with 44.9 seconds to play. The team was plagued throughout the contest by self-inflicted wounds, ending the night with 22 turnovers.
The surge by the Mavericks was their second of the game, the first coming in the opening half. In the opening quarter, a combination of solid Dallas shooting and suspect Cavalier defense put the Cavaliers in a double-digit bind. The Mavericks connected on 57 percent of their outside shots, including five of their first six shots from three-point land, and ended the stanza with a 37-26 advantage.
After Dallas took its biggest lead of the half at 41-26 with 10:44 left in the second quarter, Cleveland battled back with a 27-8 run to take a 53-49 lead over an eight-minute span. Dion Waiters was a key part of that push, connecting on a trio of three-pointers, but the combination of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson combined for 30 points on the half, with Thompson also collecting eight rebounds.
The Mavericks scored seven of the final nine points of the quarter, taking back the lead on a Devin Harris three with just under a minute remaining, and led by a single point, 56-55, at the half.
Irving made a strong return to the starting lineup following a three-game absence due to a slightly sprained ankle. Irving finished with a game-high 23 points on eight of 13 from the field, including three treys. Thompson was next highest with 17 points and a game-high 11 boards.
Cavs power forward Kevin Love was held out of the game after leaving Wednesday night’s contest with neck trouble. Veteran forward Shawn Marion also sat out the game, but his absence was simply to rest him for the regular season.
The Cavaliers return to action on Monday night, when they make another downstate trip, this time to Columbus to face the Chicago Bulls. Tipoff at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center is set for shortly after 7 p.m. Eastern.