Bobcats hold off Cavaliers 86-80 to return to over .500

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Still no half-price pizza, though.

Despite missing Al Jefferson yet again and yet another bad scoring effort from Kemba Walker, the Bobcats managed to hold an injury-addled Cavaliers squad to 80 points for a six-point victory.

Neither team scored well, which is to be expected from two of the three worst offenses in the league. Each team got decent scoring looks on many trips up the floor, but just couldn't connect on them. There were a bunch of unforced errors and turnovers, including five Bobcats turnovers in the first eight minutes that mostly resulted from miscommunication and bad passes.

The Bobcats found themselves in a small hole early and played catch-up for the first three quarters managing a waxing and waning deficit they could not quite overcome. As well as they kept Cleveland out of the paint, they themselves couldn't get diddly squat up against the Cavs interior defense. I'm not sure what Kemba Walker's problem has been lately, but ever since the injury he suffered in the first Knicks game this season, he hasn't been the same. Since that game, he's been shooting 23 percent, a huge dropoff from the 46 percent shooting mark he had been having before it. Regardless, he hasn't looked comfortable driving to the paint and he has been shooting abysmally. That said, Walker was pretty effective as a passer, finishing with seven assists and he added five steals and two blocks, though with four turnovers.

On the plus side, Jeff Taylor looked much more confident and willing to shoot, which translated to 5-for-11 shooting for 11 points.

The Bobcats early deficit was extended by a lax interior defense letting Tyler Zeller into the paint and compounded by Ramon Sessions' early three turnovers. The Cavaliers' defense was marked by active hands reaching in to deflect dribbles and passes, and though they didn't always turn those into points, they kept their lead. In fact, on some possessions between the Bobcats and the Cavaliers, the play could be summed up as "One good turnover deserves another."

Cody Zeller had his share of good and bad moments, giving up an Anthony Bennett bucket on a drive and letting his brother finish a couple layups through contact, but he also completed a beautiful pick and roll started by Jeff Taylor, who swung the ball to Sessions around the three-point line, who then found Zeller from the weak side of the offense for the open layup.

In a game devoid of a dominant scorer for the Bobcats, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist turned in another solid scoring performance. He found his way into the lane for layups driving and creating through his strength of putting his defenders on the side of his off hand. He also had an impressive four rebounds and drew fouls to get to the line for five free throw attempts. The end result was 16 points and eight total rebounds, for his sixth game of the season with at least 14 points. I think even saw him shoot a jumper off a screen that didn't have a hitch in it. I had to wipe away a tear.

The Bobcats came back about midway through the third quarter. Josh McRoberts, who had been turning in a terrible shooting game until this point with 1-for-7 shooting, had a couple threes to spark the comeback. After not scoring a single bucket in the paint in the first quarter, the Bobcats started to work their way inside with a handful of shots in the third.

The Cavaliers had a pretty solid scoring distribution led by Irving and Thompson and then Earl Clark started dropping bombs in the third quarter with a couple threes. But towards the end of the third quarter, the Cavs couldn't score and gave up a 14-3 run. Their lead dissipated to a single point at the end of the third and they wouldn't come close for the rest of the game.

Taking control of the momentum off a Anthony Tolliver and Ramon Session three to begin the fourth, the Bobcats wouldn't look back. The Bobcats had a scoring spurt led by their suddenly hot shooting hands and by Kidd-Gilchrist's ability to finish at the rim through contact.

Cleveland made a small run towards the end, but they had let the Bobcats' lead balloon too far out of control with the amount of time remaining. Then McRoberts hit a dagger corner three to put the Bobcats up nine points with a minute remaining and the Bobcats were on their way to their fifth win and back above .500 after clawing their way on top in an ugly, turnover filled road game.

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