CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Michael Jordan has more rings. He has more Most Valuable Player trophies. But heís never been able to beat LeBron James.
James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists Friday, Kevin Love added 18 points and 16 rebounds and the Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Charlotte Hornets 95-90. The victory makes James 21-0 against this franchise since Jordan bought the team in 2010 and ended the Hornetsí four-game winning streak.
James spent the last few days in a foul mood. He didnít like the intensity or physicality of Wednesdayís loss at the Toronto Raptors, then was away from his family on Thanksgiving and watched his beloved Dallas Cowboys get dismantled by the Carolina Panthers.
Yet as they have so many times before, the Hornets provided the perfect therapy.
The Cavs trailed by as many as eight and didnít take their first lead of the second half until a 3-pointer by Matthew Dellavedova with 7:08 to play, but ultimately the outcome was the same as always. James even scored a career-high 61 on this floor two seasons ago as a member of the Heat.
His last loss to the Hornets/Bobcats was February 2010 when he was still with the Cavs the first time. Jordan bought the team a month later. Fridayís victory, according to the NBA, at least temporarily broke Jamesí tie with the Memphis Grizzliesí Matt Barnes for the most consecutive victories over one team. Barnes has a 20-game winning streak against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This one came with a fight.
The Hornetsí Kemba Walker deflected a pass out of bounds in the final minutes and officials originally gave possession back to the Cavs but, after a lengthy review, they determined the ball grazed off Dellavedovaís fingers and reversed the call. The Hornets took possession and Jeremy Lambís jumper pulled them within 92-90 with a minute left.
James drove the lane on the Cavsí ensuing possession and Walker raked the ball out of his hands as he was going up for a shot, but didnít get a call. The Cavs retained possession, but James missed a long jumper with 38 seconds.
The Hornets had a chance for the lead, but Nic Batumís 3-pointer from the top of the arc was short and James grabbed the rebound. J.R. Smith made a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Richard Jefferson scored 13 points and Tristan Thompson grabbed 12 rebounds, both off the bench, while Timofey Mozgov had eight points and three rebounds in his return after missing a week with a strained shoulder. Dellavedova also returned with seven points and five assists after missing a game with a calf injury.
Walker had 18 points for the Hornets and Batum added 17 points and eight rebounds.
The Cavs return home to host the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ.