NEW ORLEANS: The Cavaliers blew a 12-point lead in the final five minutes and fell to the New Orleans Hornets 104-100 on Friday.
A 3-pointer from Earl Clark gave the Cavs a 93-81 lead with 4:44 left, but the Cavs went nearly three minutes without a basket as the Pelicans came roaring back in a game the Cavs led most of the way.
Kyrie Irving had 22 points and five rebounds, but wasn’t called for a foul on a drive to the basket that would’ve tied the game in the final minute. Instead, Tyreke Evans made a pair of free throws at the other end and the Pelicans extended the lead to 102-98 with 19.3 seconds left.
Jarrett Jack had 19 points (11 in the fourth quarter) and Dion Waiters had 14, but the Cavs suffered another crushing road loss in a season full of them.
After the Cavs stretched the lead to 12, they didn’t score again until a push shot from Irving with 2:05 left. By then, the Cavs’ lead was down to 95-90 and the Pelicans just kept coming.
Ryan Anderson’s 3-pointer pulled Pelicans within 95-93, Irving missed a drive to the rim and a tip from Anthony Davis tied the game at 95 with 1:29 left.
Andrew Bynum started as usual, then returned late in the second quarter, marking the first time he has left a game and re-entered in the same half. He played only 18 minutes for the game, but it marked another small milestone in Bynum’s return and another is expected Saturday when he plays on both nights of a back-to-back for the first time this season.