On a day where the Cavaliers welcomed their franchise center back into game action, the Cavaliers continued business as usual, dispatching of the Hornets in New Orleans for the first time since 2006, ending their longest win drought in any NBA arena. They won their eight straight thanks to a highly-efficient scoring night from LeBron James, a forceful statement game from J.J. Hickson, and 57% shooting on the road, which is almost always good enough for a W. Coupled with Orlando's loss to Atlanta, tonight's win decreases the magic number to Eastern Conference homecourt to four, and the overall magic number is down to seven.
The Hornets are fighting a losing battle in regards to making the playoffs, largely due to missing their All-Star Chris Paul for several weeks. Paul returned Monday night, but in his second game back, he was largely held in check (5 points, 7 assists in 31 minutes). New Orleans's top two scorers were the same as the last matchup: Matt Thornton and Darren Collison. Thornton had 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists, down from his career-high 37 last time, and Collison added 17, 4 boards, and 7 assists, also lower than his 22 a month ago.