CLEVELAND (AP) — The presence of Andre Drummond began the night with optimism for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That positive feeling was quickly dashed by a 133-92 loss last Sunday to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cavaliers’ worst home defeat in franchise history.
“Tonight was pretty ugly, so show ‘em your worst first and you only can go up from there,” Kevin Love said.
Drummond started in his first game with Cleveland after being acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. He scored 19 points, had 14 rebounds and even hit a pair of three-pointers in 29 minutes.
Drummond’s numbers weren’t nearly enough as the Clippers led wire-to-wire without star forward Kawhi Leonard. Cleveland’s previous worst was a 39-point loss to Chicago in 2012.
Lou Williams scored 25 points, Paul George had 22 and Marcus Morris added 10 in his first game with the Clippers.
Los Angeles’ biggest lead was 45 points in the fourth quarter after coach Doc Rivers had given his starters the rest of the night off.
Drummond stressed patience after Cleveland’s 12th straight loss at home. The Cavaliers have dropped 13 of 14 overall.
“We’re not looking at the scoreboard,” he said. “I said it when I first got here in the locker room. I don’t care about the record. I don’t care about the scoreboard. I just care about, did we get better today? My goal is to push these guys and keep them positive, continue to work hard and show no quit on this season.”
The Clippers didn’t miss Leonard, who was out because of a sore left knee. Morris, acquired from New York at the trade deadline, started in Leonard’s spot at power forward and played 22 minutes.
The Clippers were obviously angry following an embarrassing 142-115 loss in Minnesota on Saturday. Los Angeles shot 70 per cent in the first quarter, making 14 of 20 from the field. “There are nights for whatever reason, it’s the perfect storm,” Rivers said. “Last night was one of those. You just move on from it.”
Morris knocked Drummond to the floor with a hard foul as Cleveland’s centre tried to score in the third quarter. The play was upgraded to a flagrant foul after a review.
Morris’ final game with the Knicks came in Cleveland on February 3. He scored 26 points in New York’s overtime win.
“That was cool, man,” Morris said of his debut. “The guys made the game easy. I asked them before the game where they liked the ball and they asked me where I wanted it.”
Drummond replaced Tristan Thompson, who has started 48 games. Thompson came off the bench and scored seven points in 19 minutes. Love had 10 points in 26 minutes.
Drummond ran through some drills during a Saturday workout to get familiarised with the team’s system.
“We had no practice time, so it was expected for us to come out and look lost, obviously because we were trying to figure out plays,” he said. “I didn’t really know many plays yet.”