Cavs’ Bickerstaff on Love: ‘There was no doubt in our mind that when he was going to the free-throw line, he was going to make them both’

The Cleveland Cavaliers returned to action Friday night as they traveled to Charlotte to battle the Hornets.

Cleveland, who was coming off a disappointing loss to the Rockets Wednesday night, led by as many as 17 points in the fourth, but Charlotte would storm back and take a 101-98 lead after a Kelly Oubre Jr. three with 46.2 seconds left. However, Jarrett Allen would have a tip-in, and with 01.2 seconds left, Kevin Love would get fouled by Terry Rozier. Ultimately, Love would make two free throws, and the Cavs would defeat the Hornets 102-101 at Spectrum Center.

The Cavs(32-21) are 1.5 games behind the Bulls for the best record in the Eastern Conference, while the Hornets(28-25) have lost three straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Hornets.

The Great for the Cavs:

-After not getting the call for the All-Star Game, Jarrett Allen was a possessed man Friday night. He had a career-high 29 points and grabbed 22 rebounds(career-high 11 offensive rebounds). 

The five-year veteran had a double-double at halftime(15 points and 11 rebounds). This was Allen’s third career 20-20 game. Allen acted as if he had something to prove, and yes, Jarrett Allen, you’re an All-Star. 

-Kevin Love had another strong performance off the bench. After scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the loss to Houston. The five-time All-Star had 25 points, including six threes and nine rebounds Friday night. Also, Love made two clutch free throws with 01.2 seconds left to give the Cavs the win. He’s scored 20-plus points in four out of the last six games.

-Brandon Goodwin started at point guard for the injured Darius Garland(back), and he played well. Goodwin had 12 points, including fours, nine assists, and four steals. He had career-highs in assists, steals, and three-pointers made Friday night.

Second Quarter: Cleveland trailed 31-22 after one quarter. The Hornets pushed their lead to 37-27, and Cleveland went on a 13-3 run to tie things up at 40. The defense stiffened in the second. The Cavs held the Hornets to 4/20(20%) shooting from the field, and they created seven turnovers, leading to 10 points. Cleveland outscored the Hornets 30-15 in the quarter and led 52-46 at halftime.

Third Quarter:  Kevin Love came alive in third. He scored 11 points in the quarter, including four threes. Again, Cleveland held the Hornets below 20 points(19) in a quarter, and Charlotte shot 0/6 from deep. Cleveland took a 17-point lead in the third and led 76-65 at the end of three.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Ed Davis: Well, it’s not his fault, but in the fourth, and the Cavs leading 90-80 with just under five minutes left, things got interesting.

After Dean Wade stepped out of bounds and the whistle was blown, Cleveland’s Ed Davis, who did not enter the game Friday night, touched Terry Rozier who was shooting a three. However, because Davis touched Rozier, he was called for interference, and Charlotte was awarded three points. In addition, Davis was issued a technical. Rozier made the free throw, and the Hornets cut the lead to 90-84.

Following the game, the officials acknowledged that they had made a mistake, and Rozier should not have been awarded the three points.

Bottom Line:

Wow! That was a fantastic game and a frantic finish. However, this was a quality win for the Cavs. Allen was extraordinary, and Love was clutch. The Cavs have been winning ugly without Garland in the lineup, and that’s okay.

Back to Allen, he sent a clear message to the league. More than likely, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant won’t play in the All-Star Game, so commissioner Adam Silver will have to name a replacement. Well, Mr. Silver, if you’re watching, Allen is your guy.

“He’s Kevin Love. There was no doubt in our mind that when he was going to the free-throw line, he was going to make them both,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said about Love’s game-winning free throws.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home Sunday to battle the Pacers.

Best of the Rest:

-Rozier led the Hornets with 24 points; Oubre Jr. had 21 points and nine rebounds, and LaMelo Ball chipped in with 15 points.

-Cleveland is 10-3 in their last 13 games.

Watch below as Love talks win over Hornets:

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