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Cavs Win Big Over Hornets, Finish Trip Strong

RECAP

If anyone was curious about the importance of protecting the basketball, Tuesday’s laugher in Charlotte would be Exhibit A. 

In the road trip finale for the Wine and Gold, the host Hornets shot 57 percent from the floor, but committed 33 turnovers that Cleveland turned into 35 points. The Cavs, conversely, turned the ball over just nine times and proceeded to cruise through the final three quarters – taking the lopsided 120-104 win on Tuesday night at the Spectrum Center. 

Turnovers aside, the Cavaliers were also extremely efficient on the offensive end – hitting on 51 percent shooting, including 47 from beyond the arc as they coasted to the finish line despite the absence of their leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, and their defensive anchor, Jarrett Allen. 

After splitting the two-game set in Miami, the Wine and Gold doubled-up on the Hornets – returning home with a 3-1 mark on the roadie with 11 games to go in the regular season. 

Evan Mobley led six Cavaliers in double-figures – finishing with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting and a perfect 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding a team-high six boards, a pair of assists and a block. 

Cedi Osman followed up with 24 points in 30 minutes of action off the bench – his highest scoring total in over a month – going 8-of-13 from the floor, including 6-of-10 from deep, adding three dimes and a pair of rebounds. 

Caris LeVert wrapped up an outstanding road trip with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-5 from long-range, adding a team-high-tying seven assists and a block while leading both squads with a +25 number in 27 efficient minutes of work. 

Darius Garland was the only Cleveland starter with a turnover – committing a whopping two miscues – finishing with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, adding seven helpers of his own in the win. 

Ricky Rubio was solid in his 20 minutes of work off the bench – netting 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go with five boards and four assists. 

With the one-sided win, and with a big matchup with Philadelphia looming on Wednesday, the Cavaliers had the luxury of resting some starters while playing some of their two-way guys late in the fourth quarter – with Dylan Windler, Isaiah Mobley and Sam Merrill, who inked a multi-year deal earlier in the day, all seeing floor time in the final period. 

Kelly Oubre Jr. – who missed Sunday’s contest with a back issue – led all scorers on Tuesday with 28 points on 11-for-17 shooting. 

FEAT. HIGHLIGHT: LeVert Throws Down Poster Jam

Feat. Highlight: LeVert Throws Down Poster Jam

TURNING POINT

Charlotte took a five-point lead on Kelly Oubre’s three-pointer with a minute to go in the first quarter. That’s as good as it would get for Steve Clifford’s squad on Tuesday night – or the opening period, for that matter. 

Caris LeVert would proceed to drill a three-pointer on Cleveland’s next possession and one more bomb after a Hornets turnover to give Cleveland a one-point lead. Charlotte committed another miscue on its final possession of the quarter, and Darius Garland scored on a layup at the buzzer to give the Cavs a three-point lead. 

The Hornets got back within one less than two minutes into the second period, but Cleveland answered with a 10-0 run, capped by Cedi Osman’s first of six triples on the night. 

The Cavs would pull away from there, taking a 15-point lead into the halftime locker room and never looking back after intermission.  

BY THE NUMBERS

200 … career victories for Cavaliers Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff – achieving that total, fittingly, where he began his NBA coaching career as a 24-year-old assistant serving under his father, Bernie, who was then the head coach of the Bobcats. 

Over the course of his career, the 44-year-old Bickerstaff went 37-34 with the Houston Rockets, 48-97 in his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies and is now 115-121 with the Wine & Gold, steering his young squad towards the postseason with now a 44-27 mark in his fourth season with the Cavaliers. 

CALLS OF THE GAME

Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.

UP NEXT

After wrapping up their longest remaining roadie of the season, the Wine & Gold return home for a pair – beginning with a Wednesday night visit from Joel Embiid and the Sixers followed by a Friday night matchup with the Wizards. 

The Cavs get back on the road next week, but it’s a light one on the schedule – playing just two games over an eight-day span: a twofer in Brooklyn, taking on the Nets next Tuesday and Thursday.