CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – A night after having issues but overcoming the hapless Orlando Magic, the Cavs hit a roadblock vs the red hot Denver Nuggets Saturday night at the Q.
Too many mistakes, and the inability to stop Denver inside killed the Cavs, and in the end eight Nuggets in double-digits was too much in a 111-103 loss for the Cavs.
Danilo Gallinari led Denver with 19 points, and Kenneth Faried added 17 as the Nuggets won their ninth straight game.
The loss stops a modest three-game winning streak for the Cavs, who have still never won four in a row during the Byron Scott era.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 26 points, but was plagued by foul trouble.
The All-Star guard picked up his fourth foul with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter and went to the bench with the Nuggets leading 72-61. Irving returned to start the fourth quarter with Denver ahead 84-73. He scored 12 points in the period, but Cleveland’s rally fell short.
The loss ended Cleveland’s three-game winning streak that matched a season high. The Cavaliers haven’t won four games in a row since March 17-24, 2010, which was LeBron James’ final season with the franchise.
Alonzo Gee scored 20 points for Cleveland with 16 coming in the first quarter.
The Nuggets built a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers cut the gap to 105-99 with 1:40 remaining, but Gallinari’s two free throws and Faried’s dunk put the game away.
Denver outscored Cleveland 19-5 in fast-break points. The Nuggets also had 62 points in the paint compared to 32 for the Cavaliers. The Nuggets committed 20 turnovers, leading to 24 points for the Cavaliers.
The game featured physical play by both teams, particularly in the second half. Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller was given a technical foul in the third quarter for shoving Nuggets center JaVale McGee while Faried and Cleveland forward Tristan Thompson got tangled up on a couple of occasions.
Denver coach George Karl had to be restrained by his assistants for going after the officials in the third quarter. Karl was angry about a foul call that went against his team.
Denver took a quick 8-0 lead, but Gee, who had scored 14 points his last two games combined, kept Cleveland in the game by scoring 15 of the Cavaliers’ first 17 points.
Cleveland led 46-41 late in the second quarter, but Denver finished the half on a 17-6 run. The Nuggets scored the last six points of the half over the final 41.9 seconds to take a 58-52 lead into the locker room.
Irving picked up two fouls in a span of 20 seconds late in the quarter, giving him three for the half.
The Cavs are back at home Monday for the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7pm.
(AP Contributed to this report)