Hornets.com postgame: Cavaliers 92, Hornets 78

Friday, January 16, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Unbeaten at home, Cleveland immediately grabbed control of Friday’s nationally-televised game by bombing three-pointers from all over Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs are 20-0. The Hornets (23-13) never mounted much of a challenge after falling into an early hole, sustaining a frustrating defeat in one of their poorest offensive outings of the season.

The loss culminated in the late-game ejections of Chris Paul and James Posey, as a result of getting whistled for two technical fouls apiece.

Despite frequently tight individual defense against him, LeBron James put away the Hornets in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 29 points. James drained a handful of off-balance 20-footers during the final stanza. Just as damaging to New Orleans, when James was double-teamed, Cavs role players including Sasha Pavlovic and Wally Szczerbiak took advantage. Pavlovic, who has been used sparingly, moved into the starting lineup due to Delonte West’s injury and responded with 19 points (4-for-4 three-point shooting). Szczerbiak entered the game at 41 percent from the field in 2008-09 but was 4-for-5 on treys in this one and netted 14 points, all in the first half.

At the other end of the floor, the Hornets needed to play significantly better to have any shot of handing the Cavaliers their first home loss of the season. New Orleans finished at only 37.3 percent from the floor and 5-for-18 on treys. The 78 points were the Hornets’ second-lowest scoring output this season (they scored 68 at Orlando on Christmas).