Cleveland Cavaliers cap rough January with 104-97 loss to Dallas Mavericks

DALLAS -- The Cleveland Cavaliers' bumpy January finished with a performance befitting their month, losing to the 18-win Dallas Mavericks, 104-97.

Playing without Kevin Love, who stayed in Cleveland to undergo an MRI on his lower back Monday afternoon, the Cavaliers trailed for much of the night and couldn't find enough offense, as they capped a losing month, going 7-8 in January.

LeBron James led the way, scoring 23 points on 9-of-19 from the field in 37 minutes. He added nine assists and nine rebounds before getting pulled for good at the 5:37 mark of the fourth quarter.

Kyrie Irving chipped in with 18 points, snapping a streak of six consecutive games scoring at least 20 points.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) goes up for a dunk as Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell (7) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Down 13 early in the fourth quarter and in need of an offensive jolt, the Cavs had Channing Frye bury back-to-back 3-pointers, cutting the Mavericks' lead to seven and forcing them to call timeout with 10:26 left.

Frye followed with another triple moments later, as he tallied 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

But following in the trend for much of the night, Dallas kept responding, pushing the lead to 17 points before coasting to the seven-point victory.

As has been the case recently, the Cavs' defense reverted back to its generous ways, allowing another opponent to reach the 100-point mark. 

The Mavericks, playing without starting point guard Deron Williams (toe) and center Andrew Bogut (hamstring), shot 39-of-86 (45.3 percent) from the field and had 19 fastbreak points.

Harrison Barnes led the way for the Mavs, scoring a game-high 24 points on 9-of-16 from the field. He added 11 rebounds.

"Just having his own team and putting the team on his shoulders and now the offense is being ran through you and you're not the third or fourth option on a great team," head coach Tyronn Lue said of Dallas' off-season pickup. "It's his team with Dirk (Nowitzki) getting older and they're running a lot of things through him and he's producing. Just seeing a young player like that getting an opportunity to carry a team and show the talents he has."

Wesley Matthews chipped in with 21 points. Yogi Ferrell, making his second NBA start since signing a 10-day contract, poured in 19 points, including the dagger 3-pointer to push the Dallas lead to a game-high 17 in the fourth. Seth Curry scored 16.

Turnovers were also an issue for Cleveland, which committed 17 that the Mavericks turned into 25 points.

Irving had a game-high six while James tallied five.

Shortly after tipoff, the Cavaliers did receive some good news in a month that hasn't been filled with much, as Love's MRI revealed no structural damage to his lower back. Love has been dealing with back spasms since early January, forcing him to miss the second half of Sunday's win against Oklahoma City.

Richard Jefferson started in Love's spot Monday, as Lue liked the matchup better against Dallas' small-ball starting five. Jefferson scored 11 points on 4-of-5 from the field.

Jordan McRae also saw his minutes increase in Love's absence. McRae scored 11 points off the bench in 30 minutes. 

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