The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Charlotte Hornets, the Cavs got out to big lead in the opening quarter - only to see the lead shrink in what ended up as a hard-fought nine-point win. Tonight, Cleveland again got out to a big lead early - only this time it was sustained and the Cavs cruised to a 39-point blowout win.
The Cavaliers outscored the Hornets 33-13 in the first quarter and were up 75-40 at the end of the first half. By the end of the third, the Cavs were up 103-63. The Cavs' scoring totals at the half and at the end of the third are both notable; the 75 first half points was the highest first half total of the season for the Cavs, while the 103 through three quarters was the most points for the Cavs over the first three quarters in more than 22 years.
At the end, the Cavaliers won by a final score of 129 to 90, giving the team a fifth straight win. Cleveland's 129 point output was significant too, as it was a season high for the Cavaliers - just eclipsing the 127 points Cleveland scored against the Atlanta Hawks in November. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 25 points, while J.R. Smith finished with 21 points, all of which came on 3-pointers. Al Jefferson led Charlotte with 22 points.
As a team, every Cavalier - starting with James and all the way down to little-used center Brendan Haywood - scored for Cleveland. The Cavs finished the game shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 53.6 percent on 3-pointers. The last time these two teams played, the Cavs shot 45.8 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three in a 97-88 win.
Iman Shumpert also played his first game with the Cavaliers against the Hornets. Shumpert, playing with a minutes restriction as he returns from the shoulder injury that delayed his debut, played 10 minutes and made all three of his shots (and 1-2 free throws) for eight points.
The Cavaliers have tomorrow off before taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder and former Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters on Sunday. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.