Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker both missed 3-point attempts on the Charlotte Hornets’ final possession, as the Cleveland Cavaliers secured a 100-99 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
The loss broke a three-game winning streak for the Hornets, who are 8-10. The Cavaliers, defending Eastern Conference champions, improved to 12-7.
LeBron James (27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists) scored a layup with 1 minute, 47 seconds left to tie the game at 99-99. The Hornets switched defensively on that play, with center Dwight Howard guarding James at the foul line.
Howard missed a jump hook, giving the Cavaliers possession. But Cavs center Kevin Love was called for an offensive foul, pushing Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with just over a minute left.
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The Hornets didn’t score off the ensuing possession, and Kidd-Gilchrist was called for a foul. J.R. Smith made one of two free throws for the lead.
James missed a 3-pointer, and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker grabbed the rebound, giving Charlotte possession, down one, with 11 seconds left.
Howard finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Marvin Williams added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Three who mattered
Williams: He made five of his first seven attempts from 3-point range.
James: He had a triple-double assembled in the first three quarters.
Howard: He was essential to the rebounding, which was a disaster in the previous game against the Cavs this season.
▪ The Hornets played without guard Nic Batum, who re-injured his left elbow Wednesday against the Washington Wizards. It’s yet to be determined when Batum will play again, but he participated in the shootaround in Cleveland and the injury isn’t considered particularly serious.
▪ With Batum out, Jeremy Lamb made his 13th start of this season. Lamb had a big game against the Wizards, finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
▪ With long-range shooter Love starting at center for the Cavs, Hornets coach Steve Clifford had Marvin Williams guard Love in the first quarter, meaning center Dwight Howard guarded forward Jae Crowder some.
▪ With Batum out, rookie Malik Monk came into the game in the second quarter. Monk didn’t play in two of the last three games, and only a minute against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
▪ Michael Carter-Williams had 11 strong minutes off the bench in the first half, totaling eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
▪ ESPN reported Friday afternoon that Cavs guard (and former NBA MVP) Derrick Rose is away from the team and evaluating whether he wants to continue playing. Rose has been through numerous injuries over the past five or so years and is currently out with a sprained ankle.
▪ Howard was charged with his sixth technical foul this season. He’s tied with three other players for most in the NBA.
▪ Impressive ball-movement by the Hornets in the first half: Eighteen of their 22 baskets were assisted.
B OFFENSE: They made 11 of 21 3-pointers in the first three quarters.
C+ DEFENSE: They rebounded well, and contained the Cavs’ trips to the foul line.
B COACHING: Steve Clifford cleaned up several of the flaws that allowed the Cavs to score 115 in the previous matchup nine days prior.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell