Bobcats-Cavaliers Preview

The Associated Press

While coach Mike Brown's team suffered another road defeat its last time out, Cleveland has yet to lose at home.

The Cavaliers have taken especially good care of their own court against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Looking to avenge an earlier loss to Charlotte, the Cavaliers try to continue their home domination of the Bobcats on Friday night.

Cleveland dropped to 0-6 in opponents' arenas with Wednesday's 124-95 loss to Minnesota, its worst road start since opening 0-13 in 2003-04. Kyrie Irving had 20 points for the Cavaliers, who were outscored 56-32 in the paint and 29-6 in transition.

"Obviously after a performance like that, you're concerned," Brown said. "But I thought we fought. We're nine games in and we're going to keep on going forward."

Cleveland was also outrebounded 49-37 and allowed the Timberwolves to shoot an opponent season-high 54.9 percent.

"Things that we're not doing out there, things that need to be addressed within the locker room doors that are going to continue to be addressed," Irving said. "We just have to do better next time."

The Cavaliers now return home, where they have won their first three games by an average of just 2.3 points. Their recent home efforts against the Bobcats (4-4) haven't been nearly as close.

Cleveland (3-6) is 14-1 all-time against Charlotte at home, taking the last four matchups by 16.0 points per contest. Irving has a combined 42 points on 16-of-22 shooting while playing in two of those games.

The Cavaliers, though, couldn't keep up in a 90-84 loss Nov. 1. C.J. Miles and Tristan Thompson combined for 43 points but Irving scored 16 against the Bobcats, who overcame Al Jefferson's absence thanks to 23 from Kemba Walker.

Jefferson, playing in his second game since missing five with an ankle injury, broke out with 22 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday in an 89-83 win at Boston. He averaged 11.5 points on 36.7 percent shooting in his first two games with Charlotte.

"He's an elite low-post scorer and he's a much, much better defender than I had realized," first-year coach Steve Clifford said. "But the thing that's coming through now as you watch him is his competitiveness. He badly wants to win."

Still trying to find his form, Jefferson has averaged 20.0 points on 52.8 percent shooting and 10.2 boards in 12 matchups against the Cavaliers since 2006-07.

"I've got to get in better shape," he said. "I know there's a reason that I'm not in top shape. That's the only bad thing about getting hurt in the beginning of the year."

The Cavaliers could have a harder time containing Jefferson down low without center Andrew Bynum, who will miss a second consecutive game due to personal reasons. Bynum made his first start Monday and set season highs with 11 points and six rebounds in a 96-81 loss at Chicago.

Walker, who shot 1 of 13 and finished with three points against the Celtics, is 14 for 59 (23.7 percent) over the last four games. He also had a rough night during Charlotte's last visit to Cleveland, posting five points on 2-of-11 shooting in a 122-95 loss Feb. 6.

The Bobcats are trying to win three straight on the road for the first time since a four-game run Jan. 18-28, 2011.

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