Cavaliers 115, Bobcats 101
The future of the Cleveland Cavaliers looked good in the present on Tuesday night.
Rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, selected No. 1 and No. 4 respectively in last year's draft, led Cleveland to a 115-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night.
Irving tied a season high with 20 points and had six assists with no turnovers, and Thompson had season highs with 16 points and nine rebounds.
''Kyrie makes everyone around him better,'' Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. ''He gets more and more comfortable with each game. Tristan's in that same boat. He's starting to really understand his role and what he can do in this league.''
Veteran Antawn Jamison had 19 points as Cleveland moved over .500 for he first time since Nov. 9, 2010, when it was 4-3.
The Cavaliers are using Irving and Thompson as centerpieces in their rebuilding effort from last season's team that finished 19-67. Irving has started at point guard in all five games while Thompson, a power forward, is one of the first players off the bench.
D.J. Augustin scored a season-high 26 points for the Bobcats, who have lost four straight since opening the season with a 96-95 home win over Milwaukee on Dec. 26. Charlotte coach Paul Silas was whistled for a technical foul for arguing with an official in the fourth quarter with the Bobcats trailing 108-91.
Silas was also displeased with his team's effort, particularly on the defensive end.
''It's just not gonna work if we don't play hard all the time,'' he said. ''We're not talented enough to not play hard all the time. You can't just give it away (points on penetration) and let it happen.''
Cleveland continued its strong 3-point shooting, making 10 of 21 from behind the arc. The Cavaliers 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. Back-to-back 3s by Daniel Gibson gave the Cavaliers a 103-86 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Cleveland's rookies also brought the crowd to its feet with blocked shots in the second half. Irving chased down Augustin's breakaway layup attempt in the third quarter, swatting the ball off the backboard with his left hand.
''It was just a normal basketball play,'' Irving said. ''I just wanted to contest it the best I can.''
Thompson also received a thunderous ovation when he blocked Byron Mullens' dunk attempt in the fourth quarter.
''We all love playing basketball, so why not play this way?'' Thompson said.
Gerald Henderson had 16 points for the Bobcats after being held scoreless in the first half. Mullens, who played one season at Ohio State, scored a career-high 14 points.
Augustin, Corey Maggette and D.J. White scored all of Charlotte's 34 points in the first quarter. Augustin ended the period by stealing the ball from Ramon Sessions and scoring on a layup to give him 14 points. The Bobcats hit 12 of 19 shots in the quarter and led 34-27.
The Cavaliers finished the second quarter with an 8-2 run, sparked by two 3-pointers from Anthony Parker, to lead 57-51 at halftime.
Cleveland's spurt continued early in the third period. Five points by Anderson Varejao and 3-pointers by Irving, Jamison and Omri Casspi helped the Cavaliers build an 80-65 lead.
NOTES: Bobcats C Boris Diaw was limited to four minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. ... F Tyrus Thomas (sprained ankle) has yet to play this season. ... Cleveland, which opens a seven-game road trip Wednesday in Toronto, doesn't play at home again until hosting Golden State on Jan. 17. ... C Semih Erden (right thumb fracture) was inactive one day after participating in his first full practice. Scott said Erden will likely play sometime during the trip.