Hornets 89, Cavaliers 84

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 22, 2012
Laettner
Chris Kaman scored 21 points and the New Orleans Hornets held off a late Cleveland rally for an 89-84 win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, who made several clutch plays in Cleveland's back-to-back one-point wins over Sacramento and Detroit, was held to six points, tying his career low that occurred in his first NBA game against Toronto on Dec. 26. Irving's jumper with 2:08 to play cut New Orleans' lead to 76-74, but Kaman's dunk and Marco Belinelli's 3-pointer put the Hornets ahead 81-74 with 1:04 to play. Antawn Jamison led Cleveland with 22 points. Irving, who shot 2 of 13 from the field, recorded a career-high with 11 assists. Cleveland missed a chance to win three straight games for the first time this season. Belinelli scored 19 points while Jarrett Jack added 16 for New Orleans. Kaman, the subject of trade rumors earlier this month, also grabbed 13 rebounds. New Orleans, which lost to Indiana in overtime on Tuesday, came out with more energy in the final game before the All-Star break for both teams. The Hornets led the remainder of the game after taking an 11-9 lead in the first quarter. New Orleans built an 11-point lead late in the period and maintained a comfortable margin until the fourth quarter. Trailing 71-59 early in the final period, Cleveland scored 11 straight points to pull within one. Ramon Sessions scored five points, Alonzo Gee hit a 3-pointer to key the run, and Ryan Hollins' free throw cut the lead to 71-70. New Orleans went scoreless for over four minutes before Jack's free throw with 6:25 remaining gave the Hornets a three-point lead. Jack made a jumper and New Orleans hit six free throws in the final minute to secure the win. Cleveland cut the deficit to one in the second quarter, but couldn't take the lead and the Hornets led 50-43 at halftime. Kaman scored 15 points in the half. The Cavaliers were coming off a pair of dramatic wins that were both sparked by Irving. Cleveland's victory over the Kings on Sunday featured 19 lead changes and was tied 17 times. Irving's two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining gave Cleveland a 93-92 win. The Cavaliers rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter against the Pistons on Wednesday for a 101-100 win as Irving scored 17 points in the final period. Irving will compete in the rookie/sophomore game and Skills Challenge during this weekend's All-Star festivities in Orlando. Cleveland coach Byron Scott was assessed a technical foul in the first quarter for protesting that a foul wasn't called on an offensive possession by the Cavaliers. Rookie Gustavo Ayon had a career-high 19 rebounds for New Orleans. New Orleans completed a stretch of three road games in three nights. The Hornets dropped a 101-93 decision to Oklahoma City on Monday and fell 117-108 in overtime to Indiana on Tuesday. New Orleans had a season-high three-game winning streak going into Monday. The Hornets complete a six-game road trip in Chicago on Feb. 2 NOTES: Hornets coach Monty Williams said C Emeka Okafor (left knee) and F Jason Smith (concussion) could return for the first game following the All-Star break on Feb. 28 at Chicago. There is no timetable for the return of G Eric Gordon (right knee surgery) and F Carl Landry (sprained left knee). ... Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao (broken right wrist) has been doing daily cardiovascular work. The team said he would miss four to six weeks when he was injured on Feb. 11. ... Cleveland G Anthony Parker (back) missed his 12th straight game. He could return for the first game after the All-Star break against Boston on Feb. 28.
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