Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson didn’t spend very much time sitting down in the fourth quarter, but it was for the best possible reason: they had a lot to cheer about as a quirky bench unit led by LeBron James played for the entire period and delivered a big home victory over one of the East’s best teams.
The Cavs entered the fourth quarter facing a one-point deficit, and LeBron James had been having a rough go of it. With 12 minutes remaining, James was 4-15 from the field with three assists and three turnovers. Coach Tyronn Lue elected to surround him with Iman Shumpert, who had a tremendous game, Jordan McRae, Richard Jefferson, and Channing Frye. The Cavs ran play after play for Frye, who had 11 points in the final quarter.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers, 100. The Charlotte Hornets, 93.
The first three quarters were back and forth, and the Cavs seemed to be just a half step slow to loose balls and rebounds, particularly on the defensive end. Kyrie Irving controlled the game offensively, but didn’t shoot particularly well. Turnovers have been an issue for him (well, he’s turned the ball over more than he generally does), but he didn’t have one today. Kevin Love was dominant in the first quarter, finishing with 15 points on six shots, but only scored two more the rest of the way. Tristan Thompson played excellent on-ball defense on guards and even recorded three blocks, but wasn’t effective offensively until the third quarter when he started to win some offensive rebounds.
The Cavs didn’t really break through, though, until James and Frye got the two-man game going. Iman Shumpert’s defense improved as the day went on, and more than lived up to his contract today.
For the Hornets, they simply didn’t get enough from Cody Zeller or Frank Kaminsky. Coach Steve Clifford is still searching there. Kemba Walker needs help scoring.
See you next time.