Hornets hex continues as Cavs click

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James driving past Charlotte Hornets' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Wednesday. This was the Cavs' seventh win on the bounce against the Hornets.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James driving past Charlotte Hornets' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Wednesday. This was the Cavs' seventh win on the bounce against the Hornets.PHOTO: REUTERS

CHARLOTTE (North Carolina) • The Cleveland Cavaliers are still in the bonding phase of the 2017-18 season as they try to work in new additions around LeBron James.

The better they get to know each other, the better they are playing.

That was evident again on Wednesday as the Cavs continued their mastery over the Charlotte Hornets with a 115-107 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory at the Spectrum Centre.

James led the way with 31 points, and the Cavs beat the Hornets for the seventh straight time and the 12th time in the last 13 meetings.

The performance concluded a four-game, seven-day road trip that both James and coach Tyronn Lue thought was extremely beneficial. It started with a loss at Houston before wins at Dallas and New York prior to the Charlotte trip.

"This was a big win, this was a big trip for us," James said. "Any time you're on the road for more than two days, you've the opportunity to come together even more.

"We faced a little adversity throughout some games and you've got to be resilient. We lost to Houston, but we played extremely well. We just didn't make enough plays down the stretch.

"But from Dallas to New York to today, we were very good."

The Cavs (8-7) got 22 points and 10 rebounds from Kevin Love, 13 points from Jeff Green, 11 points from Kyle Korver, 10 points from J.R. Smith, and nine points and eight rebounds from Channing Frye.

Charlotte (5-8) led 67-61 at halftime, but the Cavs outscored them 27-17 in the third quarter and then pushed the lead to as many as 10 in the fourth quarter.

James finished 12 of 24 from the field and four of seven from three-point range. He also had eight assists and six rebounds.

The 32-year-old is now 44-6 against teams from Charlotte (the Bobcats and the Hornets) during his 15-year career. He has scored 30 or more points 19 times against Charlotte teams.

"I'm seeing some great strides the last five games or so," Lue said.

"We've really been playing better defensively, playing better offensively, and just trying to figure it out playing without a point guard.

"The guys are doing a great job of putting in the extra work, and it's coming."

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Hornets with 22 points. Kemba Walker scored 20, but was seven of 17 from the field and scored only eight in the second half.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2017, with the headline 'Hornets hex continues as Cavs click'. Print Edition | Subscribe