Wednesday night was not a good night for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a 119-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Cavs never were in the game. They trailed by seven points after one, and by 16 at the half. The Hornets ultimately led by as many as 25 points while shooting 50.6% from the field and 44.7% from three-point range. This was all with All-Star guard Hornets LaMelo Ball getting in foul trouble in the first quarter and never really making an impact on the game.
For Cleveland, the one positive was the return of Darius Garland after he missed a stretch of games with a back issue. In 33 minutes, Garland had 33 points on 13-22 shooting to go with 4 assists and 7 turnovers. When the Cavs did make a final push in the fourth quarter — with 9:27 to play, the Hornets called a timeout with the Cavs down 13 — it was Garland three that prompted the timeout.
That push, though, didn’t last. Just over a minute later, a Terry Rozier basket for Charlotte made it a 20-point deficit again. Not long after, the Cavs pulled everyone out and ceded defeat.
During the loss, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was also ejected for the first time in his Cavaliers tenure. He came off the sidelines, aggressively arguing a blocking foul charge on Cedi Osman and was immediately hit with double technical fouls.
With the loss, Cleveland is now 36-26 on the season and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They are only percentage points ahead of the sixth place Boston Celtics, who have played two more games than the Cavs so far this year.
Up next: The Cavs are off tomorrow before playing the 76ers in Philadelphia on Friday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.