Final Dime: Bobcats 98, Cavaliers 97
Ramon Sessions led the Cavs with 24 points in Wednesday's loss in Charlotte.
Neither squad led by more than three points in the final quarter, and they were knotted up at 97-apiece with 1:47 to play. But Boris Diaw split a pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining and Cleveland couldn’t close on its final possession, falling, 98-97, to the Bobcats on Tobacco Road.
The Bobcats ran out to a 10-point lead late in the first quarter, but Cleveland closed the gap and trailed by just a bucket after one. Behind Ramon Sessions’ 12-point second period, the Wine and Gold went into the locker room up by four.
Anthony Parker canned a three-pointer midway through the third to put the Cavaliers up seven, but Charlotte went on a 10-2 run to retake the lead. The two clubs went toe-to-toe through the next quarter until Diaw’s free throw gave Charlotte their final edge.
Sessions came off Cleveland’s bench to lead the Cavs with 24 points – going 7-of-12 from the floor and a perfect 10-for-10 from the stripe. The former Nevada standout added five boards and four assists.
J.J. Hickson followed up with 20 points, going 10-of-15 from the field despite early foul trouble. Hickson added seven boards and a pair of assists.
Anthony Parker finished with 14 points and Baron Davis added 11 and a team-high six assists. Alonzo Gee rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points.
“It’s not encouraging, but at the same time, it is because we did tough it out and we showed some mental toughness down the stretch,” said Davis. “We had an opportunity to win the ballgame and what more can you ask for on the road?”
The Cavaliers shot 52 percent from the floor one night after shooting 56 percent against the Heat. The Bobcats did shoot 56 percent on Wednesday night and turned the ball over just eight times. Charlotte had 33 assists on 42 made buckets.
“After every game we’ve won, we’ve come out and kind of fallen on our face the next game,” said Byron Scott. “Tonight, we didn’t do that. We competed a lot better tonight and did some real good things. But we didn’t play the defense that we played last night. We didn’t play that well on that end of the floor.”
Cleveland makes two more stops – on Friday in Washington and Sunday in New York – to close out their three-game East Coast roadie.
2. Samardo Samuels remained out of the lineup with an injured wrist, but he’s eager to play (at least) against New York.
“(The injury) just something that I have to deal with,” said Samuels. “Just give it a couple days. It feels better right now. Every day I get up it feels better and better.”
3. Byron Scott Scott talked briefly about the incorrect call that cost his team three points in Tuesday’s win over Miami. Asked what he told the officials, Scott quipped: “I used my initials to them – B.S.” ,
4. Paul Silas, who coached the Cavs to a 69-77 record from 2003-05 was asked before Wednesday’s game if it’d mean a lot for him to beat Cleveland.
“Not really, not anymore,” said the Bobcats coach. “If you had asked me that question about five years ago, I’d have wanted to beat the hell out of them.”
5. Alonzo Gee has now scored double-digits – or exactly 10 points – in every other game over the last five.
6. The Cavs have picked it up defensively this month. From February to March, they’ve gone from allowing 109.4 points per contest to 99.9. That 9.5-point improvement is biggest in the league over that span.
7. J.J. Hickson has been deadly from the stripe over the past couple weeks. Over his last seven games, Hickson is shooting .914 from the line.
8. After Tuesday night’s win, the Cavaliers became one of just three Eastern Conference teams – joining Orlando and Chicago – to have knocked off the Heat, Lakers and Celtics this season.
9. Paul Silas went through some tough times with Baron Davis earlier in the point guard’s career, but the Bobcats coach spoke highly of Davis before Wednesday’s matchup.
“He gets everybody involved, he tells players where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to do,” praised Silas. “And that’s very special, because the Cavaliers are so young they need it – they need a leader. And he most certainly can do that.”
10. After going 10-for-41 in his previous six games, Anthony Parker has been scorching in last two – going a combined 13-for-18 from the floor, including 6-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.