Cavs rally falls short as Hornets pull out victory
Written by Sean Fitzgerald on January 2, 2020
Photo Credit: Steve Herrick, Associated Press
The first Cleveland Cavaliers game of the decade started off with promise but ended on a sour note. Collin Sexton’s potential tying shot clanked off the backboard, as the Cavs fell to the Charlotte Hornets 109-106.
The two teams played back on December 18, when Cleveland-area native Terry Rozier scored thrity-plus points in a close Hornets loss.
Tonight, it was the opposite, as Rozier scored 30 points for a Hornets squad that improved to 15-23.
While the Cavs did lead by ten points in the fourth quarter, they let the lead slip.
They never got ahead again after Devonte’ Graham hit a go-ahead three-pointer.
Cleveland wasn’t killed by turnovers, but by an inability to lock down on the defensive end.
Collin Sexton led the charge for the wine and gold with 21 points, while rookie Darius Garland scored 14 points while racking up five rebounds and eight assists in a solid showing for the rookie.
“He didn’t have the benefit of a college year, the benefit of a summer league, a benefit of a September. We were still being very cautious with his injury,” Coach John Beilein said of where he saw Garland compared to the start of the season.
Beilein praised the progress Garland has made throughout the season and becoming more of a leader on the floor.
Among the other starters, Kevin Love was second in scoring with 18 points and eight boards, while John Henson had a season-high 10 points and six rebounds with the second unit.
—-A loss bigger than basketball—-
Prior to the game, the team held a moment of silence for NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern, who passed away at age 77 Wednesday following a brain hemorrhage on in mid-December at a restaurant.
The team played a tribute video to Stern during the first break of the first quarter, highlighting his accomplishments and up and down moments in his thirty-year run as the commissioner.
Stern is considered to be the man who ushered in the modern NBA.
The Cavs begin a back-to-back set starting Saturday, squaring off against Chris Paul and the Thunder before the Minnesota Timberwolves come to town Sunday night.
Sean Fitzgerald is a member of the Black Squirrel Radio Sports Department and a Sports Coordinator. He co-hosts Pass the Mic Sports Talk. Follow him on Twitter @fitzonsportsbsr for insights and occasional livestreams.