LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The Cleveland Cavaliers fended off a furious Charlotte rally to snatch a 102-101 National Basketball Association victory over the Hornets in wild style on Friday (Jan 4).
Jarrett Allen scored 29 points and pulled down 22 rebounds for Cleveland and Kevin Love made two free throws to seal the win with 1.2 seconds remaining.
The Cavaliers led 76-65 going into the fourth quarter, but their fortunes changed when Ed Davis, who was on the Cleveland bench but did not play in the game, interfered with a three-point attempt by Charlotte's Terry Rozier, thinking the play had been whistled dead.
He was assessed a technical foul and Rozier was credited with a three-pointer - and made the technical free throw to cut the deficit to six points.
Back-to-back three-pointers from P.J. Washington and a three-pointer from Kelly Oubre gave the Hornets a 101-98 lead with 46.2 seconds remaining.
Allen's tip-in of a Love miss pulled Cleveland within 101-100 with 35.3 seconds left. That was the score with 2.1 seconds remaining when Cavs guard Brandon Goodwin missed a jumper. Love grabbed the rebound and missed the follow-up - sparking celebrations on the Hornets bench.
But officials deemed on review that Love had been fouled, and he was awarded the game-winning free throws.
Allen said the Cavaliers were "all feeling like we wanted to send a message" after a loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
"I think tonight was obviously a way to show who we are as a team," he said.
Love scored 25 points, 22 of them in the second half as the Cavs handed the Hornets a third straight defeat.
Raptors down Hawks
In Toronto, the Raptors pushed their winning streak to five games, following up on their overtime triumph over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday with a 125-114 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Pascal Siakam equalled his season-high with 33 points. Fred VanVleet scored 26 points and handed out 11 assists as the Raptors beat the Hawks for the second time in a week.
De'Andre Hunter and John Collins scored 23 points apiece for Atlanta, Trae Young had 22 points and 13 assists for the Hawks a day after his 43-point performance in the Hawks' victory over the league-leading Phoenix Suns.
In Detroit, Boston's Jayson Tatum scored 24 points to help the Celtics push their winning streak to four games with a 102-93 victory over the Pistons.
After the Celtics held the Pistons to a season-low 31 first-half points, Tatum scored 10 points in the third quarter as Boston powered to a 78-56 lead heading into the fourth on the way to a wire-to-wire victory.
Jaylen Brown added 13 points for Boston. Josh Richardson scored 12 and Robert Williams had 11 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
In Indianapolis, Chicago centre Nikola Vucevic scored a season-high 36 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan added 31 points to power the Bulls to a 122-115 victory over the Pacers.
Vucevic connected on 16 of his 21 attempts from the field. He also handed out four assists and blocked three shots as the Bulls withstood a 42-point performance from Indiana's Caris LeVert.