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Cleveland Cavaliers crush Charlotte Bobcats, 122-95

By Rick Bonnell
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

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This time the Charlotte Bobcats couldn’t even sneak up on somebody.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were 1-5 at home this season against teams with sub-.500 records. Coach Byron Scott wouldn’t let up on that, telling his players losing to the Bobcats would invalidate a recent victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So the Cavs treated the Bobcats like a college homecoming opponent, leading by as many as 28 points in the first half of a 122-95 blowout at Quicken Loans Arena.

Scott made the point again to media in his pre-game availability, saying, “We’ve got to have that fear of losing – for 48 minutes.’’

Mission accomplished. The Cavs shot a remarkable 62 percent in the first half, scoring 30 points in the paint. Either it was guards Kyrie Irving (22 points) and Dion Waiters (19) driving or power forward Tristan Thompson (17) posting up. Thompson made seven of his first eight shots, getting to the rim as consistently as league most valuable player LeBron James did against the Bobcats Monday.

The Cavaliers led by as many as 33 and only a late run on Cleveland’s scrubs avoided what would have been the Bobcats’ 10th loss by 30 or more since the start of last season.

This was the end of a five-game, 12-night road trip, yet there really was no excuse for the 11-37 Bobcats to look so flat. They had at least one day off between each game and the Cavs, at 15-34, are hardly overwhelming.

But Thompson is better than any Bobcats big man and Irving is an All-Star. This one reinforced there’s no player on Charlotte’s roster going to an All-Star game without a ticket.

The Bobcats again played without rookie small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, recovering from a concussion suffered Saturday in Houston. The Cavs exploited the Bobcats’ reliance on small-ball, and Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap went with a more conventional lineup in the second half.

Perhaps out of desperation, Dunlap started power forward Tyrus Thomas in the second half. Thomas, who’s owed about $18 million over the next two seasons, had played just 13 minutes his previous four games, sitting out two altogether. He made two of his three first-half shots, but had no rebounds in seven minutes.

Thomas finished with 10 points and two rebounds in 25 minutes.

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