Young Cavs sting Hornets

By Joe Macenka Associated Press Published:

"It says a lot that we came in here one game over .500 and beat one of the quality teams in the league, a team that was 9-3 and on a roll," he said after Cleveland, which has 11 players on its roster with four years or less of NBA experience, defeated Charlotte 97-91 on Friday night.

Person matched his career-high with 33 points and Cleveland harassed the Hornets into a season-high 25 turnovers to halt Charlotte's five-game winning streak.

"This can do a lot for us," Person said. "When you're just coming together and trying to find your way, find some chemistry, a game like this can be a real boost to your confidence."

Shawn Kemp added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who converted Charlotte's miscues into 29 points on the way to winning their fourth consecutive game.

"We were just too careless with the ball," Charlotte coach Dave Cowens said. "When you have 25 turnovers and 23 assists, it's very difficult to win."

Person also had a strong night on defense. He spent much of his time guarding Glen Rice, who came in averaging 23 points, fifth-best in the NBA. Rice had just one field goal in the first half and wound up with 14 points on 3-for-11 shooting.

Person, a fifth-year swing man, hit 14-of-23 field-goal attempts and added six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

"We felt like we adjusted to him fairly well," Cowens said, "but when a guy gets on a roll like Glen does for us, he's hard to stop."

Cleveland was without rookie point guard Brevin Knight, who severely bruised his right shoulder in Wednesday's game against Philadelphia. Knight, averaging nine points and nine assists, was replaced by fellow rookie Derek Anderson, who had 12 points and 14 assists.

"I like the people that we have and I like what they're about," Cleveland coach Mike Fratello said. "I like their work ethic. I like the fact that they want to win games. They understand teamwork and playing together. They're unselfish. There are certain things we can't correct right now _ like years of experience. We have to grow into that. But there's time for it. We're young."

Charlotte had its six-game home winning streak snapped and lost for the first time in nine games this season after leading at halftime.

The Hornets got 17 points each from David Wesley and Bobby Phills, who was playing his first game against the club with which he played the first six seasons of his NBA career. Anthony Mason added 16 points, including six in the final 3:02, and 12 rebounds.

The Cavaliers overcame a nearly five-minute scoring drought in the third quarter and closed the period with an 18-8 run. Person and Kemp had six points apiece in the surge, which put Cleveland up 71-67.

The Cavaliers stretched it to 89-80 with 3:16 left before Mason scored the next six points. But Person hit a 33-footer as the shot clock was winding down to push Cleveland's lead back to six at the 63-second mark.

Notes

The officiating crew of Tony Brothers, Bill Oakes and Don Vaden allowed what amounted to a do-over by the Cavaliers late in the first half. A malfunction resulted in the clock showing just one second left in the half during a stoppage in play. The officials corrected it to show one minute remaining before play resumed, but Anderson was obviously unaware of the change. He took an inbounds pass and fired a 70-foot shot that flew out of bounds, seemingly giving possession back to the Hornets. But the officials ruled that Cleveland should retain possession, and the Cavaliers got a dunk from Kemp. ... The Hornets' previous high for turnovers this season was 22. ... Cleveland had lost three straight and nine of 11 to Charlotte.

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