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Hornets lean on Brandon Miller, defense to get revenge vs. Cavs

Mar 27, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) goes up for a shot against Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) during the first quarter at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Miller scored 31 points and the Charlotte Hornets rode solid fourth-quarter defense to avenge a loss from two nights earlier, defeating the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 118-111 on Wednesday.

Tre Mann and Miles Bridges each scored 17 points and Grant Williams had 16 off the bench for the Hornets (18-54), who snapped a five-game losing streak.

But the big development down the stretch was the Cavaliers’ inability to score. Cleveland managed just two points in the final 5:29.

Jarrett Allen had 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting to lead Cleveland (44-29). Max Strus added 19 points, reserve Sam Merrill pitched in with 17 and Darius Garland and Georges Niang each provided 14.

Charlotte also received boosts from Vasilije Micic’s 11 points and 12 assists and Nick Richards’ 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Cavaliers scored 13 of the first 18 points of the fourth quarter for a 109-105 lead. After going more than four minutes without a made field goal, the Hornets perked up and hit three shots within a 76-second span to draw even at 111.

Then Miller’s short jumper put Charlotte ahead with 1:58 to play.

Williams added two free throws in the final 1:26, and Miller sealed the result with a 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining.

The Cavaliers had offensive snags, managing only Caris LeVert’s layup in those final five-plus minutes.

Cleveland beat the Hornets 115-92 on Monday night at home.

The fourth-quarter struggles for both teams seemed out of character after an offensive free-for-all earlier in the game.

The Hornets went to the fourth quarter with a 100-96 lead. That was a notable accomplishment given that Charlotte had gone its previous five games without reaching the 100-point mark.

Cleveland led 70-69 at halftime, shooting 59.5 percent from the field. Charlotte connected on 60 percent of its shots before the break.

However, 3-point shooting made the difference, as the Cavaliers sank 13 triples to the Hornets’ eight through the first 24 minutes of action.

Merrill provided Cleveland with its largest lead of the first half — and the game — when he drained a trey with 35.7 seconds left in the opening quarter to make it 43-29.

–Field Level Media

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