Cavs close out road trip on a high note
The Cleveland Cavaliers are returning home on a high after ending the grueling road trip with a 113-110 win over opening night tormentors Charlotte Hornets. The Cavs barely averted another potential collapse by erecting enough of a cushion early in the match.
Following back-to-back losses against Western Conference playoff contenders, the Cavaliers finally got back on track after successfully closing out with the victory in Charlotte, albeit not without another scare.
Leading by as much as 17 in the fourth period, Cleveland appeared spiraling as the Hornets went on a furious rally late that brought them to within two points with just 20 seconds remaining in the game. Thanks to a huge margin built in the first half, they had just enough to cross the finish line.
Jarrett Allen led six Cavaliers who scored in double-figures with a monster stat line of 24 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks, all while shooting just under 70 percent from the field. His Tower City frontcourt made Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley also had a field day, combining for 36 points and 18 rebounds in the win.
Meanwhile, the backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland still struggled to find their mark, combining for just 30 percent shooting from the field but still managed to tally 17 and 16 markers, respectively.
The Cavs climb back up to .500
With enough turnaround this time around, a rested Cleveland squad immediately jumped the Hornets early. Fortunate, because they found themselves in another precarious situation despite the hot start, just as they did in losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.
Letting the Charlotte backcourt have their way in the second half nearly doomed the Cavs to another collapse. Lamelo Ball finishing the game with a 30-7-6 line while an erstwhile struggling Terry Rozier notching 23 points further exposed Cleveland’s porous backcourt defense.
They’ve yet to find a way to better close games, but having the mettle to build sizable leads against playoff-caliber teams on the road is at least a step in the right direction.
Missing veteran forward Kevin Love to health and safety protocols, Cedi Osman provided a positive spark off the bench the most as he scored 13 points while 80 percent shooting from beyond the arc in 21 minutes of action.
After not seeing action against the LA Lakers only a few days ago, the Turkish swingman is proving his ability to be a dependable second-unit scorer as he became the only backup to finish in double-figures against Charlotte.
All in all, the Cavs ended the road trip on a good note, with notable wins against bona fide playoff contenders in a densely packed schedule away from home. Now 4-4, the young squad is still very much poised to remain in the hunt for a potential play-in spot at the end of the season.
The Cavaliers take a day off before returning home to host the Portland Trailblazers at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on November 3rd.