Bobcats' Big Fourth Sinks Cavaliers
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers led through three quarters, but the Bobcats opened the fourth period on an 8-2 run and didn’t look back – handing the Wine and Gold their first home loss of the season, a tough 86-80 setback on Friday night at The Q.
Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson each doubled-up for the Cavaliers. Irving led the squad with 18 points on 5-for-16 shooting, handing out a game-high 10 assists to go with two boards and a pair of steals. Thompson followed up with 15 points, 10 boards and two steals of his own. Earl Clark had his best offensive game in a Cavaliers uniform – notching 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting after being reinserted into the starting lineup. Jarrett Jack came off Cleveland’s bench to tally 11 points, four boards, three helpers, a pair of steals and a blocked shot.
Both teams shot just 40 percent from the floor and committed 16 miscues. But the Bobcats canned four more three pointers and went 4-of-8 from beyond the arc in the fourth period. Josh McRoberts canned three of his treys in the second-half and Michael Kidd-Gilcrhist and former Cavalier Ramon Sessions combined for 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Turning Point – The Cavs were cruising along – leading by 10 points with just under four minutes to play in the third period. But some poor shooting and three turnovers in the final two 1:39 allowed Charlotte to close the quarter on an 11-2 run. Led by Sessions’ five straight points to start the fourth, the Bobcats used an 8-2 run to give them all the breathing room they’d need.
Game Ball – Earl Clark – It hasn’t been an easy early part of the season for Clark, who inked a free agent deal with Cleveland this summer. On Friday, back in the starting lineup for the first time since November 8 – with a pair of DNP-CD’s in-between – Clark responded with his first double-digit performance of the season, netting 15 points in 24 minutes of action, adding five boards and a blocked shot. The fifth-year vet was a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and didn’t miss his first shot from the field until the fourth quarter.
By the Numbers – 33 … points the Cavaliers held the Bobcats to in the first half of Friday night’s matchup, holding Charlotte to just 35 percent shooting before intermission.
Quotable – Tristan Thompson, on how his team needs to respond to its recent struggles …
”Maybe we just have to dig in deep. When it gets tough, you can’t take steps back and when they’re throwing punches at you, you have to punch back.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers travel to take on the Wizards on Saturday night in D.C. They should have the services of Andrew Bynum, but they’ll be without Dion Waiters (illness), who didn’t travel with the team following Friday’s loss. Cleveland gets a much-needed three-day break following Saturday’s affair when they welcome the Wizards back to The Q on Wednesday night. But it’s right back on the road immediately after that – with a Western Conference back-to-back against the Pelicans in the Big Easy on Friday night and a trip to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Saturday.