Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Charlotte Bobcats with 16 points, as Charlotte came from behind to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 86-80 Friday.
It’s the Bobcats second victory over the team in as many games this season.
Charlotte (5-4) trailed by double digits during the third quarter but went on a 19-5 run to go up 60-58 for their first lead of the game.
The Bobcats never trailed again after and were able to close out for their third road win of the season.
Charlotte had to overcome the absence of Al Jefferson, who was out of the lineup after reaggrevating his ankle injury following the team’s win in Boston Wednesday.
Jefferson played in the Bobcats last two games after missing five consecutive after the season opener in Houston.
Jefferson isn’t likely to play Saturday when Charlotte hosts the Miami Heat, but is probable Monday in Chicago.
Bismack Biyombo went scoreless in Jefferson’s absence, but grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Josh McRoberts had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. McRoberts hit a wide open three late in the fourth quarter to seal the Bobcats victory.
McRoberts returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game in Boston for personal reasons. McRoberts remains the Bobcats leader in three point field goals and is shooting them at 43 percent.
Cleveland (3-7) has now lost five of their last six games.
Kyrie Irving, who wore a protective face mask following a nasal fracture, led the team with 18 points and 10 assists. Irving was elbowed in the face by Corey Brewer during the Cavaliers 125-94 loss in Minnesota.
- The Bobcats have won two straight games on the road they likely would have lost last season. There’s more composure, poise, and effort from this year’s group. The Bobcats didn’t alter their gameplan when they trailed. They continued to play smart defensively, communicate, and move the ball offensively. Steve Clifford is doing a fine job in his first nine games and the culture he wants to establish for this team is very noticeable.
IN THE BONUS
- Kemba Walker shot 4 for 19 to continue his struggles from the field. Walker still managed to fill the stat sheet with seven assists, five rebounds, and five steals.
- First overall pick Anthony Bennett played just eight minutes last night and was 1 for 3 from the field. The rookie is going through a tough start to his career, shooting 4 for 35 in his first 10 games.
- James Southerland was active for the first time this season. The former Syracuse sharpshooter has yet to play in any games.
- Former Sixth Man of the Year Ben Gordon has only played nine minutes this season. It’s clear Gordon’s only use is trade bait as a $13 million expiring contract. If not, a buyout has to be imminent.
- Andrew Bynum missed his second straight game for personal reasons.
- Each of the Bobcats starters had at least five rebounds.
- Dion Waiters sat out with the flu, after being probable to play Thursday.
ABOVE THE RIM
- Zachary Kolesar, Right Down Euclid: Cleveland got back its defensive mojo through the first three quarters, holding the Bobcats to 57 points, but lost its edge on the perimeter near the end. Doubling up on players from outside and leaving guys open down low prevented the Cavaliers from mounting a comeback.
- Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: Coach Steve Clifford has this team organized, particularly on defense, in a way so starkly different for the misadventure under Mike Dunlap. And the players trust each other. An excellent example was the pass Kemba Walker threw to Josh McRoberts late in the game. McRoberts shot poorly most of that game, but he was wide-open, and Walker had faith he’d finish the play.
- Spencer Percy, Queen City Hoops: Charlotte trailed by 12 in the 3rd quarter with their floor general, Kemba Walker, struggling in just about every aspect of the game. Once again, this team found a way to get stops, keep fighting and wore their opponent down. The Bobcats are one of the few examples in this league that defense can get you wins you have no business getting in the regular season.
- Kevin Stankiewicz, Right Down Euclid: The Cavs defense, which has been a strong suit through the first 10 games, lost its intensity. They had built a double-digit lead early in the third, but the Bobcats began to claw away at it.