CLEVELAND (AP) - Lester Hudson has taken Cleveland by storm.
Could the rest of the NBA be next?
Hudson, rescued from the NBA Development League by an injury-riddled Cleveland team last month, scored 25 points - including 14 in the fourth quarter - and the Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 103-90 on Tuesday night.
Hudson has scored 74 points in Cleveland's last three games, including a career-high 26 against New Jersey on Sunday. That's quite a story for a someone who played in China during the lockout and was playing with the Austin Toros when the Cavaliers signed him to a 10-day contract on March 30. The Cavaliers signed him to a second 10-day contract on Monday. It's almost guaranteed he'll finish the season in Cleveland when his current contract expires on April 18.
``It's like I'm dreaming,' Hudson said when asked if he's afraid he's going to wake up.
The inevitable comparisons with Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who captivated the basketball world with his outstanding play earlier this season, have already begun. Both were virtual unknowns before taking advantage of their opportunity.
``He's the only other one who has been able to come into a situation and play really well,' Cleveland coach Byron Scott said.
Hudson, who had brief stints with Boston, Memphis and Washington previously, is flattered to be talked about in the same category with Lin.
``He had a great run,' Hudson said. ``He's hurt right now. I'm sorry for that, but to be mentioned with him is great.'
As one would expect, the 27-year-old Hudson has been bombarded with messages from family and friends.
``It's been crazy,' he said. ``Everyone's been calling and texting congratulating me because they know how hard I've worked. I want to kept it going and never let up on working hard every day.'
The Bobcats, who have lost 13 straight games, were impressed with Hudson, who had eight rebounds and six assists while hitting 9 of 18.
``He's a great player and he deserves to be in this league,' said Gerald Henderson, who led Charlotte with 21 points. ``He's a hard worker, and I have a lot of respect for him with the way hes come in and contributed.'
Anthony Parker, who missed the two previous games with a bruised sternum, scored 19 points while Antawn Jamison added 17 for Cleveland.
Rookie Kemba Walker scored 20 while D.J. Augustin, back in the starting lineup after missing three games with right knee tendinitis, added 16. The Bobcats have fallen to a league-worst 7-49.
Charlotte hasn't won since beating Toronto on March 17. The Bobcats' last road victory came against New Orleans on March 12, and they are also a league-worst 3-26 away from home.
The Cavaliers played lethargic basketball for three quarters against the worst team in the league before using a 26-7 run in the final period to put the Bobcats away.
Cleveland used a 10-0 run early in the fourth to take control. D.J. White started the quarter with a jumper to give Charlotte a 73-72 lead before the Cavaliers took over. Omri Casspi scored five points, including a 3-pointer, while Luke Walton hit another 3.
Cleveland's spurt continued when Hudson hit a jumper, a 3 and a layup. He added seven more points in the period as the Cavaliers pulled away. Cleveland outscored Charlotte 31-19 in the final quarter.
The Cavaliers had lost their last two games at Quicken Loans Arena by a combined 72 points, making them the first team in NBA history to suffer back-to-back home defeats by 35-plus points. Cleveland lost 121-84 to Milwaukee on March 30 and 125-90 to San Antonio on April 3.
Cleveland, which had lost 10 of 11, was once again without point guard Kyrie Irving, a virtual lock to be the Rookie of the Year, and center Anderson Varejao. Irving has missed five of the last six games with a sprained right shoulder while Varejao has been out for 30 straight games with a broken right wrist. Scott said there's no timetable for their return.
Charlotte has to win three of its final 10 games to reach the 10-win plateau. The Bobcats' futility was best summed up when Mullens tipped Tristan Thompson's shot into the basket in the second quarter.
Augustin's return sent Walker back to the bench, but both played well. Augustin had 11 assists while Walker was 9 of 13 from the field.
NOTES: Mullens, who worked his way into the Bobcats' starting lineup, was scoreless with five rebounds in 27 minutes. ... Charlotte coach Paul Silas said G Reggie Williams (sore left knee) is probable for Thursday's game against Detroit. .... The Cavaliers began a stretch of 12 games in 17 days Tuesday to end the season. Cleveland hosts Indiana on Wednesday. ... Indians manager Manny Acta, along with players Josh Tomlin, Michael Brantley and Aaron Cunningham attended the game. The Indians' scheduled game against the White Sox next door at Progressive Field was postponed because of inclement weather.
The Associated Press News Service
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