Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Love scored 27 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 91-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
Love and Kyrie Irving, who supplied 23 points, carried the bulk of the scoring load after the Cavaliers announced Thursday that LeBron James will miss the next two weeks with a left knee strain and a lower back strain.
"It's an opportunity to lead," Love said. "With LeBron out I'll have more of a chance to show what I can do and try to help this team. There will be a number of different guys who will have to step up in his absence just because he brings so much to the table."
Cleveland snapped its three-game losing streak.
Dion Waiters had 17 points off the bench and Tristan Thompson deposited 14 points with 14 rebounds in the win.
Gerald Henderson paced the Hornets with 14 points, Michael Kidd-Glichrist tallied 12 points with 10 rebounds and Gary Neal added 11 off the bench.
Charlotte has dropped five straight, but coach Steve Clifford liked what he saw from his defense.
"A realistic place for us to get to every night is to the mid-90s" in points, said Clifford. "I think our defense can get good enough that the mid-90s can win and it was good enough tonight, except for the beginning of the third quarter when we fell asleep."
Irving and Love converted back-to-back baskets early in the fourth to extend the margin to double digits.
Charlotte worked its way back and trimmed the deficit to 84-79, then Irving snapped over three minutes of scoreless basketball from the visitors with a pair of free throws at 2:19. Henderson's layup after two offensive rebounds cut the deficit to 86-83 with 1:22 left.
Love then knocked down a contested corner jumper with the shot clock running down to again make it a five-point game. Henderson's dunk off another offensive rebound cut it back to three with 15.3 seconds left before Irving nailed a pair at the line.
Marvin Williams was fouled after two unsuccessful attempts from beyond the arc for the Hornets and he made both free throws to keep it a one-possession game in the closing seconds. Irving knocked down 1-of-2 from the stripe with 1.6 ticks left to seal the win.
Charlotte ended the first quarter on a 10-1 run. Irving tied the game at 15-15 with a jumper, then the Hornets limited Cleveland to just a free throw from Shawn Marion over the final 3:35. P.J. Hairston scored the final five points of the quarter to stake the hosts to a 25-16 lead after 12 minutes.
The Cavs regained control, however, with a 14-3 run to open the second as Tristan Thompson's alley-oop slam capped the spurt and gave them a 30-28 lead.
Hairston stopped that run with a 3-pointer, starting a 15-2 burst for the hosts. Cody Zeller's transition dunk helped the Hornets to a 43-32 edge with 2:15 left until halftime. Cleveland closed to within 46-40 at the break courtesy of an 8-3 run to end the second.
Love made three consecutive 3s to start a 16-4 run for a 58-52 lead with over seven minutes left in the third. The Cavs pushed their lead to 72-64 entering the fourth.
Cleveland also snapped its three-game skid in Charlotte ... The Cavs shot 37.9 percent from the field and limited Charlotte to 36.8 percent shooting ... The Hornets held a 50-46 edge on the glass ... Kemba Walker had 10 points on 4- of-16 shooting in the loss.