The playoff hopes of the Charlotte Bobcats are on life support. The Cleveland Cavaliers may have just pulled the plug. Ignited by a huge first quarter that saw the Cavaliers lead 34-16 after 12 minutes, Cleveland beat the short-handed Bobcats 99-89 at Quicken Loans Arena, sending the home crowd to the exits happy – except for the fact they narrowly missed a free chalupa.
Charlotte scored the first basket of the game and enjoyed a 2-0 lead. It was the only time all night the Bobcats would have the lead as Cleveland jumped out to an 18 point lead after the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 21 in the 2nd quarter before the Cavaliers settled for a 55-38 halftime lead.
“We just went through the motions in the first half,” Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. “I’m not gonna have that. We’re not gonna do that.”
J.J. Hickson led the Cavaliers with 16 points and 19 rebounds while Ramon Sessions added 18 off the bench in leading Cleveland to their 16th win of the season.
Charlotte would make a run, outscoring the Cavaliers 28-19 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 74-66 heading into the final 12 minutes. The Cavaliers didn’t score for nearly 6 minutes to start the 2nd half allowing the Bobcats to get back into the game. The Cavaliers righted themselves, however, and built the lead back to 14 early in the 4th quarter.
“Obviously, this was a pretty good win for us,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “I thought the guys really took up the challenge. We had a lot of guys play really well. I told them for 39 (minutes) and some change, we played very, very good basketball.”