CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Darius Garland had 28 points, Donovan Mitchell added 23 and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to beat the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 on Sunday for their fourth win in the last five games.
Evan Mobley added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers (43-27), who trailed most of the game while playing without Jarrett Allen.
Garland, who sat out Friday night’s loss to Miami with a quad injury, shot 8 of 20 from the field and was 10 of 13 from the foul line, including a free throw with 10.7 seconds left to seal the win.
“We made adjustments and the guys are figuring things out,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We know who we are and what we are capable of, and as ugly as things get at times, our guys don’t quit. And you have that type of mentality where you know you can defend and get stops, you’re going to give yourself a chance. And tonight was another example of that.”
With 12 games remaining, Garland said the Cavaliers are peaking at the right time.
“I think so,” Garland said. “We are really finding ourselves as a team, as a unit, as a whole. Guys are starting to figure out their roles.”
Terry Rozier had 27 points to lead the Hornets, who were playing their second game in less than 24 hours. P.J. Washington added 19 points and Nick Richards had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte (22-48).
The Hornets led 89-81 heading into the fourth quarter and appeared in control following a strong third quarter from Rozier, who had 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting including three 3s.
But the Cavaliers would come back to take the lead with 5:42 remaining on Mobley’s rolling two-handed dunk off a feed from Garland. The Cavaliers would extend the lead to seven after two Charlotte turnovers led to layups for Mobley and Mitchell in transition.
Charlotte had 19 turnovers leading to 29 Cavaliers points.
Charlotte made one last burst and had a chance to tie the game after Richards scored on a dunk and was fouled. But the 7-foot center missed the free throw.
Mitchell scored on a jumper to put the Cavaliers up by three with 44 seconds left and Rozier missed a tying 3 at the other end. Garland made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a two-possession game and Rozier’s airball on the other assured the Cavaliers the win.
“In the fourth quarter they were terrific,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said of the Cavaliers. “That team right there, they can be a factor in this whole thing. That’s a great team.”
Despite playing a game 22 hours earlier, the Hornets shot 74% in the first quarter. Charlotte led by 14 after a 15-2 run sparked by Dennis Smith Jr., who got the start over the injured Kelly Oubre Jr., and had eight points during the stretch.
Ricky Rubio had nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter for the Cavs, perhaps his best game since returning from an injury.
“It does a lot for us just having that spark off the bench,” Garland said. “We have been missing him and it was great having him back out there just running the show, making really good reads and competing on the defensive end.”
Cavaliers: Allen did not play after getting poked in the eye in Friday night’s 119-115 loss at Miami. … Cleveland has won 14 this season after trailing by 10 or more points.
Hornets: Oubre, was ruled out before the game with a back tightness, while Mark Williams missed his third straight game with a thumb injury. Oubre had led the Hornets in scoring the past six games. … Dennis Smith Jr. had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in place of Oubre.
The Cavs and Hornets meet again Tuesday night in Charlotte.