Kemba Walker and LeBron James battled it out as the Cleveland Cavaliers handed the Charlotte Hornets a loss on their New Year’s Eve matchup.
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The Charlotte Hornets (25-7) were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers (19-15) in their final game of the 2016 calendar year. Cleveland was a bit shorthanded as they were without Kyrie Irving in this one but it didn’t matter as LeBron James was playing out of his mind. Kemba Walker’s incredible scoring performance wasn’t enough to get the Hornets a win in this one.
Charlotte’s starting to miss their sixth man in Marco Belinelli who missed his fourth straight game with a left ankle sprain. He was inactive in this one as recently recalled, Aaron Harrison, replace him on the active roster. They are missing Marco’s scoring punch off the bench as Jeremy Lamb and Ramon Sessions only combined for 11 points as the backup guards.
There really wasn’t a turning point in this one as the Cavs held a comfortable lead for the majority of the game. After taking a 19-17 lead at the 4:48 mark in the first quarter, Cleveland never looked back as they led for the rest of the game, usually by double digits. While the Hornets did have multiple comeback attempts, their efforts always came up short as they could never get within five points in the second half.
Kemba Walker stepped up in a big way as he made a statement by putting the team on his back and keeping them in this one. He has one heck of a game by scoring a game-high 37 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds. Frank Kaminsky was the Hornets’ second-leading scorer with 15 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Nicolas Batum added 13 points, eight assists, and six rebounds while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a near double-double with 12 points and eight boards. Marvin Williams scored 10 but the rest of the team didn’t really chip in as much as Charlotte needed. Their defense was not up to par as they allowed 121 points to a Cavs team without Kyrie Irving.
Cleveland was led by LeBron who finished with 32 points, nine assists, and six rebounds on the night. He also made four three-pointers. Kevin Love wasn’t far behind with a big double-double as he scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in this one. The biggest surprise was Jordan McRae who scored 20 points as he got the start in place of Kyrie.
Charlotte finishes December with a 6-2 record at home.
Frank scored 10+ points for the 17th time this year.
The Hornets out-rebounded, out assisted, and out shot the Cavs but still came up on the losing end.
Charlotte’s biggest lead was two points which was the first two points of the game.
The Hornets’ bench outscored the Cavs’ second unit 31-26.
With the loss, the Hornets fall to 0-3 against the Cavs this season. This series just has not gone Charlotte’s way and the two sides will meet once more this year on March 24th. They have now lost five straight games to Cleveland and nine of their last 10 in total.
In their next game, the Charlotte Hornets will hit the road to take on the Chicago Bulls in their first game of 2017. They ended 2016 on a bit of a sour note with this loss but they have a chance to bounce right back against the team from The Windy City to start the new year. Steve Clifford’s side already holds a 1-0 advantage over the Bulls this season as they won their only previous meeting.