Hornets Drop Heartbreaker in Cleveland

Another Howard Double-Double but Charlotte Can’t Pull Out Last-Second Win over Cavs

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com

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Charlotte went into Cleveland and pushed the defending Eastern Conference Champions to the limit on their home court before eventually falling, 100-99, ending its three-game winning streak. Dwight Howard led six Hornets scoring in double figures with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, earning him his 10th double-double of the season.

Turning Point

Jeremy Lamb got a good look on a three-pointer from the right side with 3.7 seconds remaining and Marvin Williams was there to tip the miss out to Kemba Walker, who’s desperation shot from well outside the arc fell short as the Cavs escaped with the win. But the Hornets didn’t lose the game in the last four seconds. Their work from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter did them in as they connected on just 7-of-14 free-throw attempts (50.0 percent) after shooting 69.2 percent (9-of-13) in the first three quarters. Surprisingly, Dwight Howard was Charlotte’s best free-throw shooter in the final frame, dropping 5-of-6 freebie attempts (83.3 percent), while the rest of the team combined to go 2-of-8 (25.0 percent) from the charity stripe. In a one-point game, leaving points on the board in the form of 11 free-throw misses, including seven in the final and deciding quarter, will rarely end up well and that was the case for the Hornets in Cleveland.

Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Dwight Howard gear here)

Dwight Howard scored a team-high 20 points to go with 13 rebounds, giving him his fourth-straight double-double and 10h of the season. He become the first Charlotte player with three-straight 20+ point, 10+ rebound games since Al Jefferson did so from April 2-14, 2014. With 11 defensive rebounds, Howard became the NBA’s 10th all-time leader in defensive boards with 8,860. He passed NBA legend and former Hornets Associate Head Coach Patrick Ewing (8,855). Howard also blocked one shot, swiped on steal and dished out an assist.

Wizards Player of the Game

LeBron James continued to show why he is indeed the king, recording his 57th career triple-double with 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists.

Game Notes

Marvin Williams was on fire from the field, connecting on 5-of-9 field goals, including 5-of-7 from long range. His five three-pointers tied a career high… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist impressed from the field as well, connecting on 7-of-15 shots from the field for 17 points. He also snatched five rounds and had an assist… Jeremy Lamb contributed in numerous categories for the Hornets with 11 points, seven rebounds, a career-high-tying seven assists, two steals and a block while stepping in for injured starter Nic Batum (out with a left ulnar nerve contusion)… Kemba Waker chased a triple-double with 15 points, a team-high eight assists and six rebounds… Michael Carter-Williams came off the bench to score 11 points, nab seven rebounds and drop five dimes in 20 minutes of action… LeBron James is now 41-6 in the regular season all-time against Charlotte teams… The Cavaliers have now won 12 of their last 13 games against Charlotte and have won the last eight.

Quote of the Night

“We’re starting to gel, the more and more we play together, the more and more we will gel. Especially for us, one of our best players (Nic Batum) is still not even in uniform. Whenever he gets back out there and he gets healthy and a rhythm we’re definitely to be a lot better.” - Marvin Williams

Next Up

The Hornets make a quick turnaround and return home for a 7 p.m. tip on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast and NBA TV or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.