Cavs slip past Bobcats
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 104-101 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Larry Hughes, Anderson Varejao and Drew Gooden each added 16 points for the Cavaliers, who have won three of their last four contests. Varejao finished with 10 boards while Gooden pulled down seven rebounds.
Adam Morrison chipped in 16 points while Sean May had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Bobcats, who have lost four in a row. Emeka Okafor added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Brevin Knight poured in 11 points and 14 assists.
Trailing 61-48, the Bobcats opened the third with a 21-9 rally, as they started to pound the paint. Okafor's layup pulled Charlotte within 67-60 and May's three-point play cut the deficit to five 70-65. Gerald Wallace's dunk ended the spurt to make the score 70-69.
Cleveland tallied 10 of the final 14 points of the quarter, though, extending its lead to 80-73 heading into the fourth quarter.
Varejao's two free throws pushed the margin to 88-78 with a little more than nine minutes to play, but Charlotte wouldn't give up and fought back with eight straight points, cutting the deficit to 88-86 with 6:58 on the clock.
The Bobcats got within two, 98-96, on Knight's jumper with 1:12 remaining, but Hughes hit a pair at the line. Matt Carroll's basket pulled Charlotte to within 100-98 with 18 ticks left, but that was as close as it would get, as a Varejao dunk put the Cavs up 102-98, and James hit two free throws to push the lead to 104-98.
Carroll hit a meaningless three as time expired to provide the final score.
Primoz Brezec's jumper gave the Bobcats a 16-10 lead in the early goings, but the Cavs netted nine straight points, five of which came at the line, for a 19-16 score.
May's three-point play with 3.2 seconds left in the first half evened the score at 29 after the opening 12 minutes of play.
Cleveland opened the second quarter with a 12-4 run, capped by Zydrunas Ilgauskas' three-point play, to take 41-33 margin.
The Cavaliers, who scored 16 of the final 23 points of the second stanza, highlighted by Donyell Marshall's trey, outscored Charlotte 32-19 in the frame.
Gooden returned after missing the last two games with a strained left groin...The Cavs shot 48 percent from the floor, compared to 46.6 percent for the Bobcats...Cleveland has scored at least 100 points in seven of the last nine meetings...The Cavs have won eight of the last nine meetings...Wallace finished with 14 points while Raymond Felton had 12 points and dished out seven assists.CLE CHL