Hornets Cool Off Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving dished out a career-high 11 assists in Wednesday's loss at
The Q.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE.Getty Images
The Cavaliers have been overcoming double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter all season, but in the final game before the Break, they simply couldn’t get over the hump.

The Wine and Gold went on an 11-0 early in the final period, cutting a 12-point Hornets’ edge to a single point. But the magic that saw them surge past the Pistons one night earlier never appeared and Cleveland fell, 89-84, on Wednesday night at The Q.

The starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Daniel Gibson shot a combined 3-for-22 from the floor and the Cavaliers shot just 32 percent as a team. New Orleans shot just 40 percent on the night, but handled Cleveland on the boards – with Chris Kaman and Gustavo Ayon combining for 30 of the Hornets’ 56 rebounds.

“We had great shots and we have a bunch of guys in that room that can make shots,” said Coach Scott. “Tonight just wasn’t one of those nights.”

The Cavaliers were led by Antawn Jamison, who finished with 22 points on 8-for-22 shooting. The 13-year vet added a team and season-high 12 boards – six offensive – to go with a pair of steals. He was the only Cavalier starter in double-figures.

Byron Scott’s bench fared much better, combining for 39 of Cleveland’s 84 points.

Alonzo Gee added 13 points and five boards in 28 minutes of action and Ramon Sessions pitched in with 11 points. Tristan Thompson notched his second double-double in the last three contests – tallying 10 points and 10 boards in the loss.

Kyrie Irving went just 2-of-13 from the floor, including 0-of-4 from long-distance, but the former Dukie did dish out a career-high 11 assists against New Orleans.

“It was just that type of night,” said Irving. “We were getting stops and we just couldn’t hit shots, including myself. I think we did some good things defensively, but it was a rough night. It happens.”

The Hornets, playing their third game in three nights, featured four players in double-figures – led by Chris Kaman, who notched 15 of his team-high 21 points in the first half.

The Wine and Gold wrap up their nine-game homestand on the other side of the All-Star Break when they welcome Boston back to The Q on February 28.

  • Kyrie Irving’s previous high-water mark in assists was eight, but he went into intermission on Wednesday with seven. He ranks second among rookies, averaging 5.1 helpers per contest.

  • Semih Erden got his sixth straight start at center, but didn’t see the floor in the second half against New Orleans. Ryan Hollins got the start after intermission and held Chris Kaman to just five second-half points.

    “I just didn’t think (Erden) was giving a great effort, I really didn’t,” said Byron Scott. “So I just decided at halftime to make a change.”

  • Antawn Jamison was the Cavs leading scorer on Wednesday and has led the team in scoring in 12 games this season. Irving has led them on 15 occasions. Ramon Sessions, Samardo Samuels and Anderson Varejao led Cleveland in scoring in one game apiece.

  • The Cavs came into the contest second in the league in fast break points allowed, giving up just 9.8 per game. They’ll take the lead by Thursday morning after allowing the Hornets just a single point in transition.

  • The Cavaliers head into the season’s second half with a 13-18 record. Last year, the Wine and Gold didn’t notch their 13th win of the season until March 16. They trail the Celtics – the first team they’ll face after the Break – by 1.5 games for the 8th and final playoff spot.

    “We definitely accomplished some of the goals that we tried to accomplish as a team,” observed Kyrie Irving. “We’re becoming a better defensive team and offensively we’re getting more assists per game. I think this first half of the season went really well. We definitely surprised some people. I’m really proud of that.”

    “This is a team that is a tight knit group of guys and a positive team,” added Antawn Jamison. “It speaks volume about the guys we have in the locker room. We feel like we let the majority of games slip away. I think the tale of the second half is whether or not we can find a way to make up for some of those games.”