Published May 02, 2016
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Facing a defense that has not allowed a team to score more than 80 points in three straight games, the Cleveland Cavaliers put up 75 in the first half en route to a 129-90 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
LeBron James led the scorching-hot Cavs with 25 points and added nine assists and four steals in their fifth straight win. J.R. Smith made 7-of-11 shots from 3-point range on his way to a 21 point game, Kyrie Irving chipped in 18 points, and Timofey Mozgov added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Cleveland shot 15-of-28 from long range and hit 51.7 of its attempts overall. The Cavs outrebounded Charlotte 56-42 and held a 27-9 fastbreak points advantage.
"Offensively, we wanted to share the ball, continue to push our tempo," said James. "We were able to build a huge lead."
The Hornets saw their three-game winning streak end despite 22 points and 11 boards from Al Jefferson. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist contributed 15 points and seven rebounds.
In Charlotte's first trip to Cleveland this season, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 21-0 lead and won 97-88.
Friday's first quarter was not much better for the Hornets.
On Cleveland's first possession, James connected with Kevin Love for a reverse layup alley-oop. Later in the opening period, the Cavaliers went on a 12-0 run to open up a 28-9 lead. Smith and Irving each hit 3-pointers, and Tristan Thompson converted offensive rebounds into a pair of second-chance baskets. James' runner as time expired gave Cleveland a 33-13 lead after one.
"We just didn't have the right intensity or approach to play a team like that," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
The high-flying Cavs offense did not slow down in the second quarter. They ran their lead to as many as 39 points when Mozgov completed a three-point play with 4:22 to go before the half. Charlotte narrowed the gap a bit at the end of the quarter but still trailed 75-40 going into the break.
Charlotte held Cleveland below 30 points in the third quarter, but the Cavs still shot 6-of-9 from long distance to take a 103-63 lead into the fourth period. Back-to-back triples from Smith extended their lead to 40 points for the first time in the game.
Cleveland had several chances to extend its lead to 50 points in the final 12 minutes but could never get the last basket it needed. All starters from both teams sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Iman Shumpert scored eight points in his Cavs debut following his trade from New York earlier in January ... Love scored nine points ... Charlotte had held 10-straight opponents below 100 points ... Thompson played in his 250th straight game ... All 13 Cavs scored points ... Cleveland's 35-point halftime edge was the biggest in team history.