CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 27 points with 13 assists, Kevin Love added 22 points and 18 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Charlotte Hornets 97-88 on Monday night.
The Cavaliers jumped to a 21-0 lead, but the Hornets regrouped and got within two points early in the third quarter before the Cavaliers pulled away. Charlotte trailed 59-57, but Cleveland regained control and pushed the lead back to double figures.
The Cavaliers ended the third on a 21-9 run. James scored seven points while Tristan Thompson added seven, including two dunks on assists from Kyrie Irving. Love hit a 3-pointer late in the quarter and Charlotte got no closer than eight points.
Irving scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, who were coming off consecutive road losses to Oklahoma City and New Orleans after winning eight in a row.
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 24 points while Al Jefferson added 14.
In information provided by the Cavaliers from Elias Sports Bureau, the 21-0 lead to start a game is the largest to start a game since Portland scored the first 22 points against Boston in 2004.
Charlotte center Cody Zeller left the game late in the fourth quarter after hitting his head on the floor while scrambling for a loose ball.
Cleveland, which began a five-game homestand, has won six straight at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Hornets are 1-10 away from home — the worst road in the NBA. Charlotte has lost three straight and 13 of 15.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist replaced Gerald Henderson in the starting lineup, but scored one point in 21 minutes for Charlotte. Kidd-Gilchrist came off the bench in the last three games after returning from a stress reaction in his right foot.
Hornets: Charlotte coach Steve Clifford is a longtime friend of Michael Malone, who was fired as Sacramento’s coach Sunday. “I was shocked,” he said. “It shows this league gets crazy.” . It was Kidd-Gilchrist’s first start since Nov. 11. “I felt like I was telling him, ‘Welcome back, young man. Now, here’s LeBron to guard,’ ” Clifford said, smiling.
?Cavaliers: James is sticking behind Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, despite the rookie’s poor performance in his first NFL start Sunday. “I’m not disappointed,” said James, who attended the game. “I’m a friend that supports, and it’s only one game. I know more than anybody how the game goes and how the game works, so he’s worked very hard. You’re going to have mistakes and how you come back from them is a measure of who you are.” … Dion Waiters and Matthew Dellavedova, who both spent Friday night in a New Orleans hospital because of a stomach illness, returned Monday.
Hornets: Host Phoenix on Wednesday.
Cavaliers: Host Atlanta on Wednesday.
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