The Fifth Quarter: Hot shooting helps Cavaliers dominate Clippers

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Cleveland fans can breathe a sigh of relief; the Cavaliers can still beat at least one of the NBA's top teams.

After losing to the Spurs and getting embarrassed on their home court against the Warriors this month, Cleveland got back on track Thursday with a 115-102 home win over the Clippers.

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LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists, but it was J.R. Smith's hot shooting that proved too much for Los Angeles. Smith also had 22 points, matching James' team-high total, and made 6 of 7 shoots from beyond the arc. He has reached double-digit points in 12 of his last 15 games.

Kevin Love turned in an impressive display as well. He scored 18 points and hauled in 16 rebounds, which gives him six double-doubles in his last seven games.

Chris Paul helped Los Angeles put up a good fight by scoring a game-high 30 points with nine assists, but Cleveland's balance was just too much for the short-handed Clippers (Blake Griffin has been sidelined since Dec. 26 with a partially torn tendon in his left quad).

Despite losing a couple of big games lately, the Cavaliers (30-11) are still 3 1/2 games ahead of the Raptors for first place in the Eastern Conference and remain favorites to represent the conference in the Finals. 

Grizzlies survive scare from Nuggets

Memphis led 37-23 after one quarter, but Denver fought back. The Nuggets, in fact, tied the game late in the fourth quarter before losing 102-101.

Luckily for Memphis fans, the Grizzlies have Marc Gasol. The powerful center scored a game-high 27 points to go with six assists, four rebounds and three blocks. Point guard Mike Conley, who was playing through a sore Achilles, added 20 points and three rebounds.


Paul finishes in traffic:

Don't sleep on Norris Cole:

Stop it, Chris, stop it:

Studs of the Night

Pelicans stars Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans picked up the slack with Eric Gordon out of the lineup. Davis scored a game-high 32 points and also contributed seven rebounds and two blocks in the Pels' 115-99 victory over the Pistons. Evans controlled the offense, scoring 22 points and handing out 10 assists. This first half of the season has been tough for the Pelicans (15-27), but they have the talent to finish strong.

Dud of the Night

Something isn't quite right with Hawks point guard Jeff Teague. The 2015 All-Star came into Thursday night's game with just four double-digit scoring efforts in January while shooting just over 40 percent from the field. He didn't fare any better in his team's 91-88 loss to the Kings. Teague scored just four points (2 of 8 from the field) with four assists and three turnovers. He has fallen into an almost 50-50 split of playing time with Dennis Schroder.

What's ahead (all times Eastern)

Bulls (24-17) at Celtics (22-21), 7:30 p.m.: Derrick Rose is pleased with his play of late, and Jimmy Butler is o

ne of the top guards in the NBA. Watch out for Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder at home, though.

Pacers (23-19) at Warriors (39-4), 10:30 p.m.: Draymond Green will have to take his anger on not being voted an All-Star starter out on the Pacers. Stephen Curry and Paul George were voted to start the game on Valentine's Day in Toronto.