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Wrap-Up – The Bobcats took an early lead and threatened to pull away for three-and-a-half quarters, with Cleveland clawing its way to a one-point edge with just over seven minutes to play. But the Wine and Gold went cold from the floor down the stretch and the Cats held on for the 101-92 win on Friday night in Charlotte.
Every Cavalier starter tallied double-figures, led by Luol Deng, who went 8-for-15 from the floor with six rebounds. Spencer Hawes and Kyrie Irving each added 13 points, though they both struggled from the floor, going a combined 10-for-30. Tristan Thompson and Jarrett Jack pitched in with 10 points apiece – with Thompson grabbing a team-high eight boards and Jack dishing out a team-high six assists. Dion Waiters came off the bench to net 19 points in the loss.
The Cavaliers shot just 28 percent from the floor in the fourth period, including 0-of-7 from beyond the arc. They were outrebounded, 15-10, in the final period despite outrebounding the Bobcats on the night. Al Jefferson was unstoppable in the first half for Charlotte, netting 18 of his game-high 28 points before intermission.
Turning Point – Dion Waiters’ free throws with 7:55 to play in regulation gave the Wine and Gold a one-point lead, 81-80. But Waiters’ Big East rival, Kemba Walker, gave Charlotte the lead right back on a pair of tosses from the stripe. A Walker step-back jumper and Josh McRoberts’ three-pointer capped a 12-5 run and the Bobcats found themselves up three possessions with under two minutes to play. Walker would hit six straight free throws in the final 24 seconds to ice the win.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – In just his second game back after missing seven games with a left knee injury, the sophomore guard brought his usual brand of energy off the bench, going 8-for-18 from the floor, adding five boards and a game-high three steals. The the top-scoring reserve in the Eastern Conference has averaged 21.5 ppg since returning this week.
By the Numbers – 12.6 … Offensive rebounds the Cavaliers average per game this season, third-best mark in the NBA. On Friday, the Cavs outdid the Bobcats on the offensive glass, 15-8.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on the final push of the season …
” Trying to make this run, these last 20-some games here, the sense of urgency and awareness has to be there for 48 minutes, and we had too many lulls throughout the course of the game, especially offensively in that fourth quarter, where we couldn’t get it done.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers come home for Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ big night at The Q, as he the legendary center will have his uniform No. 11 retired to the rafters at halftime of the matchup with New York. After that, the Wine and Gold wrap up the Western Conference road portion of their schedule with a three-game West Coast trip – facing the Suns on Wednesday night in Phoenix, the Warriors on Friday in Oakland and the Clippers on Sunday in Los Angeles. It doesn’t get any easier for the Cavaliers when they get home – with matchups against Miami, OKC and Houston.
Watch Video: Game Highlights: Cavs vs. Bobcats