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Cavs claim biggest blowout victory under Scott

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott was aching to know how his young club would respond.

He's not wondering any longer.

The Cavs blasted the Charlotte Bobcats 122-95 on Wednesday before an announced crowd of 13,264 at Quicken Loans Arena.

It's easy to get up for one of the NBA's elite teams like Oklahoma City, which the Cavs defeated Saturday. The real test, in Scott's estimation, was going to be how they would react against the worst team in the league.

It was the largest margin of victory in the Scott era.

"Like we said before the game, this was one of those games where I was curious to see if we've learned from some of our past mistakes and if we've grown as a basketball team," Scott said. "I think we have. I really loved the sign I saw from our guys with the effort at the beginning of the game and carrying it out the rest of the game."

The Cavs (15-34) had been just 1-5 at home against sub-.500 teams before Wednesday.

The Bobcats (11-37) were on the last leg of their five-game, nine-day road trip. They lost them all.

The players are pointing to the Jan. 22 trade with Memphis as transforming their season.

"We've added pieces," Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said. "They've come from a playoff-contending team. It has a different feel. Everyone is optimistic."

The Cavs' 27-point margin was the largest since a 124-93 victory over New York.

Also, they beat Boston 124-95 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on May 7, 2010. It was LeBron James' last victory with the Cavs.

"It continues to give us confidence," Scott said. "The young guys believe in what we're doing. If we trust each other, we'll be fine. I loved the excitement that I saw."

The last time they surpassed 122 in a game was on Feb. 11, 2011, when they snapped their 26-game losing streak against the Los Angeles Clippers. They scored 126 in the overtime game.

The Cavs have another weak opponent on Friday against Orlando, which has lost 11 in a row.

"Friday is another one of those teams that are pretty beat up," Scott said. "They will come in and try to steal one."

Irving led all scorers with 22 points and added three assists. Shooting guard Dion Waiters recorded 19 points and five assists. Power forward Tristan Thompson was very effective, with 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

The Cavs have now beaten the Bobcats six games in a row. Overall, they have won six of their last nine contests.

Cavs shooting guard Wayne Ellington came off the bench to fire in 16 points and five rebounds. Center Marreese Speights had a double-double with 11 points and game-high 10 rebounds.

The Cavs' point total was a season high, along with their 33 assists and 56.5 percent shooting. They committed a season-low six turnovers. Their 65 points at halftime were also tops on the season.

"There are three of four of these games that happen to you and they're not pretty," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "You have to load and go. Obviously, our physical effort was unacceptable."

Center Byron Mullens, a former Ohio State standout, paced the Bobcats with 15 points. The 7-footer was 3 of 5 from behind the arc.

Guard Ramon Sessions, traded by the Cavs last February, added 14 points.

"It's been a long road trip," Sessions said. "It's one of those things why the NBA is the NBA for a reason."

NOTES: Miami coach Erik Spoelstra is expected to name Heat center Chris Bosh to the starting lineup of the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Sources indicate Spoelstra likely will select Bosh over Irving or Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday. Irving said he would have no problem if Spoelstra picks Bosh. "I'm just excited to be part of the All-Star Game whether I'm a starter or not," he said. ... Thompson is quietly becoming a reliable foul shooter, shooting 63.6 percent this season. However, in his last 10 games, he has made 70 percent (21 of 30). In his last six contests, he's been machine-like at 84.6 percent (11 of 13). "If you put the work and effort in, it should get better in games," he said. "In crunch time, the better free-throw shooters are in there. When you make key free throws that determine the game, you feel good about yourself." The Cavs knew he was deficient from the foul line when they drafted him in 2011. He shot 48.7 percent in his lone year at Texas. ... Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has missed the last two games with a concussion. "His head is clearer," Dunlap said. "All signs are a plus. He's still sore. He's with the team." Irving was Kidd-Gilchrist's high school teammate in New Jersey. "I was a little worried at first, but he told me he was OK," Irving said. "Hopefully, he's back in the next few days." ... One could make a case for Charlotte's Ramon Sessions being the best backup point guard in the league. The former Cavs guard has scored 18 or more points in five of his previous six games. "He's playing great," Scott said. "He's Ramon. He gets to the basket and gets to the line. He's an aggressive attacker. He gets to the line more than any bench player in the league." ... The Bobcats are 1-14 lifetime at The Q.
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