The Cleveland Cavaliers have gotten stellar shooting from 3-point range in both of their wins this season. Hosting the struggling Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night could give them another opportunity to knock down shots from beyond the arc.
Cleveland (2-2) opened its season with a 104-96 home loss to Toronto on Dec. 26, as it missed 14 of 20 3-point attempts. The Cavaliers bounced back to win 105-89 at Detroit two days later, going 7 for 12 from long range.
They struggled to make 3s in their next game, a 5-for-25 performance in a 98-91 overtime loss at Indiana on Dec. 30, but they got back on track in a big way in their first game of 2012.
Cleveland made 16 of 26 attempts from 3-point range Sunday, falling one short of the team record in a 98-82 home win over New Jersey. The Cavs, who made 17 3s in a game in 2008 and again in 2009, are among the league leaders in 3-point shooting at 41.0 percent.
"I'm still not convinced totally that we're a 3-point shooting team, but I think we have some guys that are capable of knocking down some 3s on a consistent basis when we do it in the flow of the game," coach Byron Scott said.
"In the preseason I wasn't knocking down anything for a while, so it feels good," said Irving, averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 assists.
Cleveland lost two of three to Charlotte last season, shooting 31.7 percent (19 for 60) from 3-point range. That number figures to increase considering the way the Bobcats are playing.
Charlotte has lost three straight since opening with a 96-95 home win over Milwaukee on Dec. 26. In the last two games, the Bobcats have allowed opponents to shoot 48.7 percent (19 for 39) from beyond the arc and they're near the bottom of the NBA in 3-point field-goal defense at 41.2 percent.
Miami made 7 of 11 3s in handing visiting Charlotte a 129-90 loss Sunday. The Bobcats shot 38.0 percent after posting a 36.1 mark in a 100-79 home loss to Orlando on Dec. 30.
"When you don't play good offensively, then your defense goes down," coach Paul Silas told the Bobcats' official website Sunday. "We gave too many run-outs and layups. We'll play hard against anybody. We came out and had some open looks. If those shots go in, then I think it's a whole different ballgame."
DJ White led the way for Charlotte with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting against the Heat, but the other four starters shot 7 for 34 and combined to score 19.
"DJ White came in and he did a great job tonight making shots," said forward Corey Maggette, who is 13 for 46 (28.3 percent) this season. "Ultimately, we have to make shots and be confident in ourselves. I put the first blame on myself, because as a veteran, you are supposed to try to get something going. We just have to regroup."