CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 31 (Ticker) -- Baron Davis won his battle with Andre Miller and the Charlotte Hornets won the ballgame.


Charlotte's Baron Davis was brilliant against the Cavaliers, scoring 33 points.
Garrett W. Ellwood
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Davis scored 21 of his career-high 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets opened their season with a 100-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miller outplayed fellow Los Angeles native Davis through three quarters, outscoring his point guard counterpart, 22-12, as Cleveland held a 71-68 lead.

The Cavaliers took their final lead at 83-82 on a basket by former Hornet Ricky Davis with 6:41 remaining before Baron Davis took over. Ricky Davis scored all 14 of his points in the fourth period.

Baron Davis twice made 1-of-2 free throws to give Charlotte the lead for good at 84-83 with six minutes left. He added a 3-pointer for a four-point edge 30 seconds later and sank another 3-pointer for a 94-87 lead with just under three minutes to go.

"I think this year, we want to be more aggressive offensively," Baron Davis said. "I just wanted to pick up where I left off at the end of last season. Tonight, I was the one who was open."

Baron Davis was 7-of-9 from the floor in the fourth period as many of his shots came off pick-and-rolls with Matt Bullard.

"They were switching the pick-and-roll with Matt and him and, when he's penetrating well, he's a whole different ballplayer," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "He is so strong that when he goes in, he can make the shot or pass out."

Miller did not score and had just one of his six assists in the final quarter. Cleveland shot just 31.5 percent (6-of-19) in the period.

"Our goal was to have Baron shoot from the outside and we accomplished that," Miller said. "Unfortunately, he was feeling it from out there. This was one of Baron's better games. He's a competitor and he came up big tonight."

The 33 points by Baron Davis was the most for Charlotte in a season opener since Dell Curry scored 38 in a 109-98 victory over Toronto on November 2, 1996.

Jamal Mashburn finished with 22 points and eight rebounds while David Wesley added 18 points for the Hornets, who shot 44 percent (33-of-75) from the field, including 8-of-16 from the arc.

"We have a lot of stuff that we have to work on," Mashburn said. "The first game of the season is always a little ugly. I think it's part of the process."

One night after getting blown out at home against Boston, the Cavaliers turned in a much better effort. A pair of free throws by Chris Mihm gave Cleveland its largest lead at 58-46 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

"I feel much better tonight that I did last night," Cleveland first-year coach John Lucas said. "I was ecstatic about our effort and our execution, especially playing games on back-to-back nights. I loved our competitiveness and I saw a lot of growth out there."

The Cavs still held a 65-54 lead with just under four minutes left but the Hornets closed the quarter with a 14-6 run, sparked by five points each from Wesley and Bullard.

All five starters for Cleveland scored in double figures, with Mihm tallying 13 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Doleac added 12 points and Wesley Person chipped in with 10.

Cavaliers starting forward Lamond Murray, who scored 11 points, suffered a back bruise just before halftime and did not return. Charlotte has now won 13 of the last 15 meetings at home, including 6 straight.