The Cleveland Cavaliers went head to head with the ever improving Charlotte Hornets yesterday afternoon in the Q. While the Cavaliers are running off of last season’s championship victory the Hornets were not the team to be counted out as they have proven to be worthy contenders in the East with a 6-2 record prior to this game. The Cavs and the Hornets are two teams that have exemplified success in building a franchise around a player. Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavs, built his team around Lebron James and won the team the NBA Championship title for the first time in Cavaliers franchise history. Michael Jordan, still looking for that level of success, has recently shown his success in building a strong team around center Kemba Walker, tied in the rankings for the number 2 spot in the East.
The Cavs had a strong start with an impressive first quarter performance from Forward Kevin Love who went 5/6 on FG,and 2/2 on 3P, and 3/4 on FT for 15 points to open it up. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker answered back with 11 points in the first. The two teams kept it close in the second quarter, switching the lead 5 times and receiving strong showings from both Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving who scored 10 in the second and Charlotte’s Marco Belinelli who scored 9.
Of course the Hornets did what they do best and took over in the third quarter. The team is averaging an NBA-best 30.1 points on 51.5 percent shooting (42.6 percent from 3) in their third quarters this season. Although not their highest scoring night, the Hornets were able to take the lead from the Cavs with Forward Marvin Williams and Guard Nicolas Batum marking up the scoreboard with 8 and 5 points respectively.
Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving didn’t make it easy on the Hornets, narrowing their lead with 7 points and sending them into the fourth with just a single point deficit of 72-71.
Cleveland played to home court’s crowd and big shots out of Richard Jefferson, Lebron James, and Channing Frye, who scored a season high 20 points, gave the Cavs the biggest lead of the night with an 11 point advantage. Although Charlotte fought to regain ground, the Cavs kept a tight grip on their lead until the final seconds with the final score Cavs- 100, Hornets- 93.
The Cavs play again tonight, facing off against the Toronto Raptors at 7pm in Quicken Loans Arena.
Below is a sound bite from head coach Tyronn Lue on the importance of Channing Frye and his role on the team.