NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 7th (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (24-38) at Charlotte Bobcats (28-33), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers will try to pick themselves up from a recent loss when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Cavaliers were handed a 122-101 setback to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena and blew a 23-13 lead after the first quarter. San Antonio came alive in the second stanza, scoring 37 of the 54 points.
"You just have to tip your hat off to a great team like that. They were great tonight and just messed up our rotations. Playing pick-and-roll, guys were hitting shots, making plays. They made it tough on us on both ends of the floor," said Irving.
Irving and Dion Waiters scored 24 points apiece, while Spencer Hawes added 20 points and 13 rebounds. Irving has scored 20-plus points in each of his last five games, averaging 25.8 ppg in that stretch. Hawes has played well since coming over via trade with Philadelphia, posting 14.7 points and 9.9 boards.
The Cavs, losers in five of seven games, will work on their 9-22 road mark Friday and still have a shot at making the postseason in the weak Eastern Conference. They currently sit 3 1/2 games off the eighth and final spot.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats bounced back in a big way with Wednesday's 109-87 drubbing of the NBA-best Indiana Pacers at Time Warner Cable Arena.
One game after Miami Heat star LeBron James lit them up for a franchise-record 61 points, the Bobcats took care of the Pacers, who trailed 28-8 after the first quarter. Indiana did have a 30-19 advantage in the second quarter, but Charlotte won the next two stanzas (62-49).
Al Jefferson was busy with 34 points on 16-of-25 shooting and eight rebounds, while Kemba Walker chipped in 19 points. The Bobcats, currently seeded seventh in the East, shot 51.2 percent and made 9-of-18 3-pointers, and scored 22 points off 18 Indiana turnovers.
Jefferson has scored 30-plus points in back-to-back games and is posting 20 or more points in 21 of his last 24 games, averaging 26.4 points and 11.0 rebounds over that time. He is the only player in the Eastern Conference averaging at least 20.0 points and 10.0 boards.
He has scored 30 points in nine of the previous 16 games and impressed Pacers head coach Frank Vogel last time out.
"Tough loss for our guys," said Vogel. "Everybody needs to question the Eastern Conference coaches voting why Al Jefferson wasn't on the All-Star team. Clearly he's one of the best in the game and he showed that tonight."
Jefferson and Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love are the only two players averaging at least 25.0 points and 10.0 rebounds since Jan. 11.
Charlotte, which ended a three-game slide and won for the fifth time in eight tries, has won five in a row at home and owns a 16-14 mark as the host. The Bobcats won seven in a row at home from March 5-26, 2010.
The Bobcats have beaten Cleveland twice already this season and the two teams will meet again April 5 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Bobcats are on a three- game winning streak in this series, while Cleveland has lost six of eight trips to Time Warner Cable Arena.
03/07 10:27:49 ET