Sexton leads Cavs to opening win, LaMelo scoreless in launching
CLEVELAND – Collin Sexton scored 27 points, Darius Garland added 22 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their very first home game in almost 300 days, getting rid of the hot shooting of Terry Rozier for a 121-114 win Wednesday night over the Charlotte Hornets.
Hyped novice LaMelo Ball didn’t score in his NBA debut with Charlotte, and Hornets centre Cody Zeller broke his left hand.
Rozier made a career-high 10 3-pointers and scored 42 points to lead the Hornets, who made it interesting with a late rally.
Disturbed by their exclusion from the NBA’s “bubble” in Orlando, the Cavs maximized getting back on their house floor for the very first time in the routine season considering that March 8.
Andre Drummond included 14 points and 14 rebounds and Larry Nance had 13 and 13 for Cleveland, which played without star forward Kevin Love. He’s out with a strained right calf.
Gordon Hayward scored 28 points in his very first game with the Hornets, who signed him to a 4-year, $120 million offer after he decided out in Boston.
Rozier scored 36 points– 24 on 3s– in the second half to keep the Hornets within striking distance. They got within 5 in the final minute, however Sexton made three complimentary throws to close it for the Cavs, who led by 18 with 3:32 left.
It wasn’t the start Ball, the No. 2 general pick in this year’s draft who has restored interest and hope in Charlotte, wanted. He went 0 for 5 from the floor and had 3 helps in 16 minutes.
Cleveland took control with a 41-point second quarter, which featured a 21-4 spurt to close the half and included a two-handed slam dunk by rookie Isaac Okoro, who began. The Cavs shot 17 of 23 (74%) in the second quarter.
Hornets: Hayward is having fun with a fractured pinkie finger on his right shooting hand. … It’s unclear when Zeller got hurt. … Ball went 0 for 3 on 3-pointers. … This launching went better than Hayward’s previous one in Cleveland. He broke his left leg in his first game with Boston here in 2017.
Cavaliers: Coach J.B. Bickerstaff is “enthusiastic” that Love will return on the weekend. … Novice Dylan Windler injured his left wrist on tough fall in the third quarter. … Ahead of the opener, the team picked up agreement options on Sexton, Garland, Windler and Kevin Porter Jr
UP NEXT Hornets: Hayward and Ball make their house debuts on Saturday versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cavaliers: Drummond faces his former team for the very first time considering that he was traded to Cleveland with a see to Detroit on Saturday. He was a two-time All-Star in eight seasons with the Pistons.