CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Start the Byron Scott Watch.
Kyrie Irving had 24 points and 10 assists Wednesday, but that wasn’t enough to save the Cleveland Cavaliers from a season-ending 105-98 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, one of the NBA’s worst teams.
Saving Scott, the Cavs coach, is another matter. His fate could be decided at today’s end-of-the-season news conference.
The Cavaliers finished with the third-worst record in the league (24-58) after losing 16 of their last 18 games, including their last six.
That brings the team’s record to 64-166 in three seasons under Scott following the departure of LeBron James.
Scott said the season has been “frustrating” because the Cavaliers “haven’t had our full complement of players. It is still a growing process. I think our guys are still getting better and next year I hope that we’ll be healthy.”
As for his future, Scott said earlier in the day, “Yeah, I have a year on my contract, (so) unless they tell me otherwise I plan on being back.”
The Bobcats jumped all over the Cavaliers early, taking a 34-16 lead after shooting 72 percent from the field in the first quarter.
The Bobcats appeared ready to blow out the Cavaliers after extending the lead to 24 in the second quarter, but Irving brought Cleveland back.
Irving scored 16 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting and the Cavaliers finished the half on an 18-5 run to cut the Charlotte lead to six heading into the break.
Cleveland took the lead with 9:30 left in the game when Dion Waiters scored on a driving layup for its only lead of the game at 77-76.
But Kemba Walker hit a long 3-pointer and Bismack Biyombo scored inside to ignite a 7-0 run to give the Bobcats a lead they’d never relinquish. Walker sealed the game with a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to put the Bobcats up by five.
“You take away the positives and negatives and what you need to work on for next season,” Irving said. “We’ll come back collectively in September and come back a better ballclub. That’s the main goal. (but) we’re not going to win a lot of games if we continue to be the last place team in defensive field goal percentage.”
There was better news for the Bobcats, who matched a season-high three-game win streak and did not finish with the league’s worst record.
While that may not be the same as winning an NBA championship, for the Bobcats it’s a step in the right direction after finishing last season 7-59. The Bobcats finished 21-61 this year, a game ahead of the Orlando Magic.
The Magic lost their season finale to the Miami Heat.
“You never want to be dead last, so I’m happy about that,” Charlotte first-year head coach Mike Dunlap said.
Walker had 24 points and seven assists and Josh McRoberts added 20 points and eight rebounds.