The Cavaliers were disappointing in Tuesday night’s loss in Miami, starting sluggish and not managing to crawl back into the game. Tonight’s game had a similar feel in the first quarter, but Cleveland woke up in the second and third quarters to carry them to their 45th win of the season.
Without Kevin Love, Cleveland managed to take care of business on the road — with ease. Larry Drew and the Cavaliers went to a different starting lineup again, playing George Hill, Rodney Hood, LeBron James, Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland’s three-ball wasn’t falling tonight, but the ball was moving, with the Cavs recording 22 assists on 45 makes.
James was back to his sensational self after an off-night in Miami on Tuesday, dropping 41 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing eight assists. LeBron’s passing was on another level tonight, even though he didn’t achieve the triple-double to validate it. While Jeff Green didn’t shoot particularly well from deep, he managed to have a fantastic game, scoring 18 points.
Rodney Hood shined in his starting role as well, hitting 2-of-4 three-point attempts and finishing with 13 points. J.R. Smith deserves the game ball, for shooting 8-of-9 from the field and connecting on some crazy isolation possessions.
Kemba Walker and the Hornets didn’t seem to go down without a fight. Walker finished the night 21 points and as the franchise leader in scoring, passing Dell Curry. (If you watched the Hornets’ broadcast, I’m sure you noticed the laaaarge graphic in the bottom right corner). Dwight Howard had a hot start — especially with two Tristan Thompson fouls — but only finished the night with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
After the Heat snapped the Cavaliers’ five-game win streak on Tuesday night, let’s see if Cleveland can start another one. The Cavs return home to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Tip-off from Quickens Loans Arena is set for 8:00 PM EST.