CHARLOTTE — Kyrie Irving hit a 12-foot pull-up jump shot with a second left to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 106-104 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday.
Gerald Henderson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the front rim, as the Bobcats fell at home.
Irving scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, holding off a furious Bobcats rally from a 17-point deficit. The Bobcats got 27 points off the bench from Ben Gordon and 20 from Ramon Sessions.
Irving scored 14 straight points for the Cavs, then tried to go one-on-one with Bobcats rookie Jeff Taylor with about a minute left. A spin move freed Irving from Taylor, but then he barreled into Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas with 55 seconds left, for a charge – Bobcats ball with the scored tied at 102.
The Bobcats failed to score on the resulting possession and Cavs forward Tristan Thompson made two free throws off a Thomas foul. But Henderson answered with a jump hook over former teammate Shaun Livingston with 16 seconds left.
The Bobcats finally erased the last of a 17-point deficit with just under five minutes left on Ramon Sessions’ two free throws for a 91-90 lead. Irving immediately answered with a 3-pointer.
The Bobcats cut down on their turnovers in the third quarter – one – but didn’t do much to trim Cleveland’s lead. They trailed 86-74 entering the final quarter. But they had a surge in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to five. But in the process they committed their fifth team foul, spending the game’s last seven minutes in the penalty situation.
The Bobcats trailed by as much as 17 in the first half and 62-48 at halftime. They gave up 59 percent shooting to the Cavaliers and that was directly tied to their sloppy ballhandling.
The Bobcats committed 10 first-half turnovers – many of them the most egregious sort at half-court – resulting in 13 Cleveland points.