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Wrap-Up -- The Cavaliers haven’t done much winning this season. But when they have, they’ve done so in style.
The Wine & Gold snapped their five-game skid in convincing fashion on Tuesday night – scoring a season-high 38 points in the opening period and never looking back – earning their second win of the season, a 113-89 blowout over Charlotte, to bring their average margin of victory this year to 23.0 points per.
With the win, the shorthanded Cavaliers also avenged a one-sided loss less than two weeks ago on Tobacco Road while extending Cleveland’s home dominance over the Hornets – having now won eight straight and 22 of the last 25 meetings at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Hornets were competitive for basically the first half of the first quarter before Cleveland began imposing its will. The Cavaliers took a double-digit lead seven minutes into the affair on Larry Nance Jr.’s three-pointer and Charlotte didn’t cut it to single figures at any point over the next three quarters.
In their second game together on the frontline, Nance and Tristan Thompson controlled the boards once again. Cleveland out-rebounded Charlotte, 60-37, with Thompson grabbing two more rebounds than the Hornets’ five starters put together.
Thompson has been sizzling over the past few games and did more blue-collar damage on Tuesday night – tying a career-high with 21 rebounds in just three quarters of work.
On the night, the longest-tenured Cavalier – and the squad’s emerging vocal leader – finished with 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting, grabbing eight of his 21 rebounds off the offensive glass while adding five assists in the win.
Jordan Clarkson has been outstanding off the bench all season – and he was that much better tonight. In 27 minutes of work, the fifth-year man from Missouri tallied a season-high 24 points, going 9-for-15 from the floor to go with five boards, a pair of assists and a block.
With the squad down to 10 healthy bodies for Tuesday’s matchup, Coach Larry Drew turned to David Nwaba – who answered assertively, finishing with a season-best 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including 2-of-2 from long-range, to go with five boards, a pair of assists and a steal.
Six Cavs score in double figures in squad's second win of the season.
As they were on Saturday night in Chicago, Cleveland’s starting backcourt duo of Rodney Hood and Collin Sexton were sharp again against Charlotte – each finishing with 16 points in the victory.
Sexton, looking more comfortable by the game, netted 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting, adding five boards and four helpers. Hood added 16 points of his own, going 7-of-12 from the field. The tandem combined to go 4-of-5 from long-range.
JR Smith rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 13 points, drilling three of Cleveland’s 13 triples on the night.
Overall, the Wine & Gold shot season-highs from the floor (.549) and from long-range (.542) while also posting season-best marks on the defensive end – holding the Hornets to 35 percent shooting, including an 8-for-41 mark from deep.
As he did in the first meeting between these two teams, Jeremy Lamb led the Hornets – finishing with 22 points in the lopsided loss. Kemba Walker, who came into the contest as the Eastern Conference’s leading scorer, was held to just eight points on 2-for-16 shooting.
Turning Point -- The game began slipping away from the Hornets midway through the first quarter and the Wine & Gold barely let up from there. But Charlotte did attempt one final push in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by 19 heading into the final period, the Hornets proceeded to score the first seven points of the fourth – capped by Kemba Walker’s triple to get Charlotte to within a dozen, 88-76.
But the Cavaliers bounced right back, with Jordan Clarkson scoring the first seven points of a 9-0 run to put Cleveland up three touchdowns, which essentially sealed the deal.
By the Numbers – .811 … Cavaliers all-time home winning percentage (43-10) against the Hornets.
Quotable – Coach Larry Drew, on Tristan Thompson’s recent play and what it’s meant to the team …
"He has really been a workhorse these last few weeks, and tonight was no different. I thought he set the tone with his aggressiveness early – and I thought our guys fed off that."
Up Next -- After throttling the Hornets on Tuesday night at The Q, the Cavaliers complete their midweek back-to-back on Wednesday when they travel to the nation’s capital for a matchup with John Wall and the Washington Wizards. Following that, the Wine & Gold get a rare four-day break before traveling to Motown for a Monday night meeting with the Pistons. The Cavaliers then welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to town on Thanksgiving Eve before heading to Philly for a battle with the new-look Sixers.