CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Thirty-three thoughts for 33 minutes from Matthew Dellavedova in a 95-90 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday…



1. Kevin Love had a double-double by halftime. He scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds through three quarters. Yet apparently he approached David Blatt at some point during the fourth quarter and said he was ready if needed, but to keep rolling with the unit on the floor as long as it was working. As a result, Love watched 11 minutes, 58 seconds of the fourth while the Hornets made six baskets and shot 26 percent in the quarter.



2. These items are very much related.



3. Love played the entire third quarter and the Hornets shot 53 percent. He didn’t play the fourth and they shot 26 percent. Love has often admitted he’ll never be a great defensive player and the Cavs needed to crank up the defensive intensity if they were going to keep LeBron James’ perfect mark against Michael Jordan intact (more on that in a minute).



4. Opponents began the night making 55.7 percent of their shots against Love, the ninth-worst mark in the league (minimum 10 games played). For as much as he gives the Cavs on offense and in rebounding, he gives a lot of it back defensively. And the Cavs defense was rolling in the fourth.



5. “We felt and we knew that we needed a little bit more (in the fourth quarter) at that end of the court,” Blatt said. “I thought the guys really brought it, really brought energy to the court in the fourth quarter particularly on the defensive end and that was the key to the win.”



6. Blatt maintained the Cavs played well defensively throughout the night, and while they weren’t awful, the numbers indicate they weren’t exactly great. The Hornets were shooting better than 47 percent from the floor through three quarters and on pace to score 100, but as Blatt pointed out, they’ve been averaging 110 points at home.



7. The Cavs played the bulk of the fourth quarter with Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith, James, Richard Jefferson and Tristan Thompson. That lineup played essentially the last 10 minutes with no substitutions until Love entered the game for the final two seconds.



8. The Hornets didn’t make a 3-pointer (0 for 6) and committed one-third of their total turnovers (4) in the fourth.



9. Love sat multiple fourth quarters last season. It was jarring at first, then at one point almost became accepted. He never openly grumbled about it, but it was clear it was foreign terrain for a player who has been the focal point of every team since high school.



10. Now that he’s been called the focal point of the offense multiple times by James and Blatt has indicated just as often they’re running more through him, Blatt conceded it was more difficult to bench him than it was last season.



11. “It was not a plan going in. It was a situational, game-time feel thing and again, Kevin gave us a heck of a game in the moments he played,” Blatt said. “We just played the lineup that helped us win. Is it going to be the same thing next time? Not necessarily. We’re just going to try to play to win games and not think about anything else.”



12. If Love indeed volunteered to Blatt he’d sit, then good on him. Asked if it was easier to do it this year after all of last season’s uncertainty, he didn’t really answer. Love pointed out the Hornets were playing small (aside from Al Jefferson) and the defensive lineup was working. With the exception of Richard Jefferson, the other four players on the floor Friday were pillars in those terrific defensive performances during last season’s playoff run.



13. “It’s always easier to do it when you win,” Love said of sitting the fourth. “I know that when I’m out there I’m playing efficient and I was giving a sustained effort, but those guys are playing great in the fourth quarter. I don’t know if you’ll see that often, but we have guys that will step up in other guys’ absence.”



14. Meanwhile, James remains undefeated against Jordan. Sort of. James insists it’s simply a coincidence, but he hasn’t lost to this franchise ever since Jordan bought them in 2010. James’ last loss against Charlotte was at home in February 2010. Jordan bought the team a month later. James has won 21 straight ever since, including a playoff sweep and a career-high of 61 on this floor two seasons ago.



15. “I don’t have an answer for it,” he said before rejecting the idea he’s extra motivated to play Jordan’s team. “My motivation comes from the guys in this locker room, trying to get them to play the right way, myself playing the right way, and that’s for us to continue going on the journey that we’ve set out for ourselves. I don’t have any extra motivation at all.”



16. Quirky stat of the night: The 21-game winning streak over the Hornets/Bobcats is the longest in the NBA, at least temporarily breaking a tie with Matt Barnes. He has beaten the Minnesota Timberwolves 20 consecutive times. Barnes and the Memphis Grizzlies play at the Timberwolves on Jan. 23. 





17. In case you haven’t noticed, I stopped being cool and up on the latest trends around the time I got married and had kids. (OK, maybe before). I can recite full episodes of Doc McStuffins and the Octonauts, but I have no idea what a dab is. Until a few hours ago I thought it was how you put medicine on a cut. Dab. Is it different from a dap? I just learned about dap within the last year. So I spent part of my evening googling dab after watching Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and J.R. Smith in a dabapalooza tonight. I’ve seen LeBron and Tristan Thompson dab. Newton was dabbing all over the front row. (Can dab be used as an active verb? Need a ruling on this).



18. Smith, however, had the ultimate mic drop (at least I know what that is) in Newton’s back yard. Smith answered Newton’s dab with a dab of his own after a big 3-pointer put the Cavs up 92-88 with 3:05 to play. Then he mimicked Newton’s Superman routine by pretending to pull his shirt open following the free throws that sealed the win with 12.9 seconds left.



19. “It’s all fun and games,” Smith said. “(Newton) is a great dude and a hell of a player. Hopefully he will win MVP this year.”





20. The dab and Superman stunt may have been a little retribution for Thursday. Both Smith and LeBron are big Cowboys fans and had to watch Newton dismantle their team Thanksgiving night. A number of Panthers, including Cleveland’s own Ted Ginn, Jr. and head coach Ron Rivera, attended Friday’s game.



21. The playful moments aside, Smith is really heating up after a terrible start to the season that could at least partially be blamed on a litany of injuries. Smith said the other day he finally feels healthy and the proof is in the numbers. He only made 1 of 5 3-pointers Friday, but the one he hit was a dagger. He’s also one of the guys Blatt continues to count on even when he’s using a defensive lineup. Smith came to Cleveland with the reputation as a gunner and a bit of a loose cannon, but he has been surprisingly effective defensively.



22. Smith was part of the group on the floor when the Cavs denied the Hornets on an inbounds play. Down 95-90 and clinging to their last hope with 9.2 seconds left, the Hornets used a 20-second timeout to draw up a play, but couldn’t get the ball in.



23. “Credit to our guys again locking in,” Blatt said. “Not getting beat back door, taking away easy entry and good pressure on the ball. Those are winning plays that don’t always show up in the stats.”



24. James’ sense of urgency this month has been palpable. He has ripped into his teammates both publicly and privately much more than usual for this point in the season, and although he denied he called a “players-only” meeting after Wednesday’s loss at Toronto, it sounded more as if he was splitting hairs than disputing what happened. So why? Why now? Why this sense of urgency when the Cavs have the best record in the East despite being down two and at times three starters?



25. “I don’t know. I see how important this moment is for us,” he said. “Last year was more of a wait period because I was getting myself into a situation that we weren’t accustomed to. New coaching staff, new system, new everything for all of us. That’s not the case this year. Even though I know I still have to be more patient because we still have two of our big-time guys not in uniform yet, but I know when we’re playing how we should play and when we’re not. When we’re not I’m going to voice my opinion about it and the guys respond to it.”



26. James said Friday morning and it’s not necessarily about wins and losses. Teams can play poorly and win and play great and lose. He’s more focused on the process. He was pleased with the effort Friday.



27. “We played our game tonight. We got timely stops, we made timely shots,” James said. “It’s not going to always be pretty offensively but if we defend and we lock down, we give ourselves a chance to win and we did that tonight.”



28. Matthew Dellavedova’s overall numbers weren’t great (2 of 7 shooting, 7 points, 5 assists) but he again didn’t turn the ball over and he played well when it mattered most. His return after missing a game with a calf injury was evident. The Raptors’ Kyle Lowry got loose for 20 points in the second half with Mo Williams and Jared Cunningham guarding him. Kemba Walker, the Hornets’ leading scorer, reached his average with 18 points. But he was limited to 4 points in the fourth Friday on 2 of 6 shooting.



29. Timo Mozgov, however, had a rough return. He’s back earlier than expected from the strained shoulder but he still doesn’t look right. Mozgov has stopped answering questions about his troublesome right knee, but they certainly persist.



30. Some grumbles out of the Cavs locker room after a crucial call was overturned in the last two minutes. James threw a pass to Dellavedova, which Walker deflected out of bounds. The referees originally returned possession to the Cavs, but the replay center in Secaucus, N.J. overturned the call and claimed Dellavedova touched it before it went out of bounds. I’m not sure where they found the visual evidence to support that, because the trajectory of the ball and the rotation never changed after Walker tipped it.



31. It could’ve been a huge call in the game. The Cavs were up 92-88 at the time, but the Hornets regained possession and Jeremy Lamb knocked down a long jumper to make it a 2-point game.



31. Ultimately the Cavs held on, but at least one player doesn’t like how referees in a studio make the final determination on crucial plays in games when the three officials on the floor understand the flow and tempo of the game and are qualified to make their own determinations. But the league started the initiative this season in an effort to speed up games and the review process.



32. Finally, Smith on what he was thinking when he splashed a step-back jumper over 7-foot rookie Frank Kaminsky on a mismatch: “Barbecue chicken, like Shaq says. When you get a big guy on you a lot of people like to go to the mismatch in the post. For me I take it personally.”



33. Barbecue chicken. Dab. Dap. Back home Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. Talk to you then.