Cavs Start Second Half in Style
Wrap-Up – It took about one half of basketball for the Wine and Gold – and their young All-Star – to shake off the rust from a week away. But once Kyrie and the Cavaliers got rolling, it seemed like there wasn’t much the Hornets could do. When the smoke cleared, Cleveland had notched the 105-100 win before a national TV audience on Wednesday night.
Coming off a big weekend in Houston, Irving scored 20 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter – going 6-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the stripe down the stretch. On the evening, the reigning Rookie of the Year was 13-of-22 from the field, adding a team-high seven assists and five boards. Kyrie had just four points after the first period and seven at intermission. But he began heating up, netting eight in the third quarter before exploding in the fourth.
Dion Waiters pitched in with 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting and Alonzo Gee and Tyler Zeller added 10 points apiece. Cleveland’s second unit had a quiet night aside from C.J. Miles, who finished with 11 points, going 5-of-7 from the floor.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers looked like they were running out of steam midway through the fourth when Irving and Tristan Thompson checked back in and Cleveland down by three – 79-76. At that point, Kyrie simply took over the game, tying the affair on a three-point play and going on to score 13 of the Cavs’ next 15 points. The Wine and Gold rode Irving’s hot hand, going on a 16-4 to give themselves enough breathing room for the win.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – Sometimes you can’t over-think it. Kyrie Irving was just too good in Wednesdays’ win over New Orleans. He put the franchise on his young shoulders over the weekend and kept it rolling at The Q. After winning the Three-Point Contest on Saturday night, Irving took a not-so-subtle jab at the powers-that-be because of the Cavs’ lack of national TV coverage. He put his money where his mouth is with the world watching on Wednesday.
By the Numbers – 8 … turnovers for the Cavaliers in Wednesday’s win. Cleveland committed four of those miscues in the first quarter and didn’t turn the ball over at all in the final period. In their last four wins, they’ve averaged just 8.2 turnovers per contest.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, describing the look Kyrie Irving gets when he’s about to heat up …
“You can see it coming. He gets a little bit of a gleam in his eye. He hits one or two shots and just kind of gets going.”
Up Next – The win over New Orleans wraps up a seven-game homestand for the Wine and Gold, their longest of the season. The Cavs get back on the road this weekend – beginning with a Sunshine State back-to-back: against the Magic in Orlando on Saturday followed by a matchup with the NBA Champs one night later in Miami. Cleveland wraps up its mini-roadtrip on Tuesday night against the Bulls in Chicago.