It was tight. It came down to free throws — a recurring enemy for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But, with two Kevin Love free throws and a monster game from Jarrett Allen, the Cavs beat the Charlotte Hornets 102-101 on Friday night in Charlotte. With the win, Cleveland gives itself a four-game lead over Charlotte in the East playoff picture. As of Friday, the Cavs are fourth at 32-21, while the Hornets are 28-25.
Allen as the best player on the floor for the Cavs, scoring 29 points and pulling down 22 rebounds. His defense helped seal the game late two. When Charlotte had its last chance off of an inbounds pass with 1.2 seconds to go, Allen kept Miles Bridges from being able to make a clean catch on the ball at the rim. This was the first 20-20 game of Allen’s Cavaliers career and his third overall.
Kevin Love, meanwhile, played hero by making two free throws to put the Cavs up 102-101. After Brandon Goodwin missed a pull-up jump shot from the elbow, Love nabbed the rebound and was fouled by Charlotte’s Terry Rozier as he went back up with the shot. The play was reviewed, and challenged by the Hornets, but it was upheld as a shooting foul. On the night, Love had 25 points and 9 rebounds off of the bench.
Friday’s game also featured a perplexing call that would have cost the Cavs had they not pulled out the win. In the fourth quarter, with just under 5 minutes to play, On the play, Dean Wade had the ball, stepped out of bounds on the baseline and the whistle was blown. About three seconds later, Rozier took a three-pointer — which the refs then counted. Cavs guard Darius Garland, out again with a back issue, was then issues a technical from the bench after arguing the call. So, because of a shot that should not have happened , the Hornets, scored four points.
Up next: The Cavs are off on Saturday before hosting the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.