The Charlotte Bobcats are not just content with ending one of the longest losing streaks in franchise history.
They'll next try to snap a 10-game home skid Friday night when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Charlotte went a little more than a month between victories but finally snapped its 18-game losing streak Monday with a 91-81 victory at Chicago, holding the Bulls to 35.1 percent shooting. The Bobcats' skid was the second-longest in franchise history behind the 23 consecutive losses to end last season.
"We just don't want it to happen again. We just want to go out there and continue to do what we did against Chicago," said guard Kemba Walker, who had a team-best 18 points. "We played great defense so hopefully we can keep playing like that and staying together. Hopefully, we can also rack up some wins."
Having already topped their win total from last season, the Bobcats (8-23) hope to earn their first home victory since Nov. 21 and end a string of four straight losses to the Cavaliers (7-26). Charlotte lost three times to Cleveland last season en route to finishing 7-59, the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106).
With Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters emerging as a high-scoring young backcourt tandem, the Cavaliers may have enough to keep their win streak over the Bobcats going. Cleveland, though, has lost three in a row overall, giving up an average of 100.7 points during that skid after yielding fewer than 85 in back-to-back road wins.
The Cavaliers couldn't hold on to a slim lead late in Wednesday's 97-94 home loss to Sacramento.
Irving had a team-best 22 points but committed a key turnover with 38 seconds left. Waiters - taken fourth overall in the 2012 draft, two spots after Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - came off the bench for the first time as a pro and had 20 points.
"It's just a learning process," Irving said. "We did a great job of competing in the fourth quarter and getting stops when we needed to, but one mistake by myself when I slip in the middle of the lane, it's a turnover. ... That's the game."
Irving averaged 22.5 points and made 17 of 26 shots (65.4 percent) in two appearances against the Bobcats last season, scoring a game-high 25 in a 102-94 victory in Charlotte on Jan. 16. An injured right shoulder kept him out of the most recent meeting between the teams, a 103-90 home win for Cleveland on April 10.
Anderson Varejao will be out for Friday's matchup, with the NBA's leading rebounder missing his eighth straight game due to a bruised right knee. That should allow rookie Tyler Zeller to start in his first professional game in North Carolina, where he starred for the Tar Heels.
Zeller is averaging 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in seven starts in place of Varejao, who didn't travel with the team. Reserve guard Daniel Gibson (concussion) also stayed in Cleveland.
Kidd-Gilchrist is listed as a game-time decision for Charlotte after he missed the win over the Bulls with a scratched cornea.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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