For the second straight game, the Charlotte Hornets blew a fourth quarter lead to an Eastern Conference rival as LeBron and the Cavs came out on top.
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The Charlotte Hornets (6-3) were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-1) as they stumbled down in the fourth quarter once again. This is the second straight game that Charlotte has lost a fourth quarter lead to one of the better teams in the East. The usual third quarter surge from the Hornets wasn’t present in this one but they did get off to a better start than usual.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was questionable heading into the game but he ended up playing, starting, and accumulating a game-high 41 minutes. The Hornets were once again without Jeremy Lamb (hamstring) who is on the road to recovery and may return soon. Roy Hibbert played limited minutes but was a reliable player with the second unit.
The Hornets held a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but they were outscored 19-21 in the final period. Charlotte had the lead from the middle of the second quarter til the first few minutes of the fourth. They stumbled down the stretch and weren’t able to come up with big shots and stops when needed.
This was never a game where Charlotte was favored but they played solidly throughout until the final moments. A few questionable calls from the refs (shot clock operator) late on will be a talking point going forward. Coach Clifford leaving his starters out for an extended period in the final quarter may have been the deciding factor in the past two losses for the team. Despite the disappointing defeat, the Hornets proved that they could hang with one of the best teams in the league after this intense match-up with King James and the Cavs.
The Hornets were led by Kemba Walker once again who scored a game-high 21 points on the night. It was his eighth straight 20 point game and he also added four assists to his stat line. Marvin Williams scored 16 points to go along with six rebounds. Nicolas Batum had one of his best all-around games of the season as he put up 15 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He also did a great job of defending LeBron James for most of the game. The King turned things around late but he only shot 3-14 through the first three-quarters.
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Channing Frye had a big game off the bench with a team-high 20 points. His spark provided a much needed offensive boost down the stretch. Kyrie Irving finished with 19 points. LeBron also scored 19 and he nearly had a triple-double with eight rebounds and eight assists. The best player in the world struggled early but closed out the Hornets late. Kevin Love added 17 points and 11 rebounds while Iman Shumpert scored 15.
In their next game, the Charlotte Hornets will stay on the road as they are set to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. It will be the first meeting between the two sides this season after splitting two preseason game earlier this year. They will be hoping to end their current two-game losing streak.