Trying to Bounce Back

After suffering their first loss of 2008, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers look to bounce back against a team they've never lost to at home.

The Cavaliers host the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday, looking to win their fifth straight at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Cleveland –7.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 186.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Charlotte +7.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Cleveland (18-18) had its four-game winning streak snapped Wednesday with a 90-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, suffering its first loss in the new year and dropping back to .500 for the season. The Cavaliers haven't been more than a game above .500 since Nov. 29 when they were 9-7.

"It doesn't really concern me," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said of his team's record. "But when we lose ball games where we don't play well, that concerns me."

Brown's team shot just 36.4 percent from the field Wednesday. James, who scored 31 points and added 10 rebounds and six assists, had more points in the fourth quarter than any of his teammates scored for the entire game. James had 14 points in the final quarter while the only other Cavaliers to finish in double figures were Devin Brown with 12 points and Drew Gooden with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Cleveland trailed by as many as 21 points.

"When you're down so many points sometimes, no matter how many plays you make, if the other team can make one play it's going to kill you," said James, who was 13-of-22 from the field with four 3-pointers.

The Cavs look to bounce back Friday at home, where they are 11-6 this season and have won four straight.

Cleveland may be without forward Anderson Varejao, who is listed as questionable due to a left knee bruise and left Achilles' strain. Varejao averages 7.5 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Charlotte (13-21) is 0-5 all-time in Quicken Loans Arena, but has won the last two meetings with Cleveland, including a 96-93 home win on Dec. 8. James, who is averaging 26.7 points in 11 career games against the Bobcats, did not play in that game because of a sprained left index finger. The Cavs had won nine of the previous 11 games against them.

The Bobcats are trying for a season-high third straight win Friday after knocking off streaking teams in each of their last two games. They ended a five-game winning streak by New Jersey with a 115-99 win on Tuesday before snapping the nine-game win streak of Eastern Conference-leading Boston 95-83 on Wednesday.

The two wins came after Charlotte had lost seven of its eight previous games.

Jason Richardson had 34 points and nine rebounds and Nazr Mohammed added 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench Wednesday as Charlotte recorded just its second win in 13 road games. The Bobcats own the third-worst record in the East, but the win over the Celtics has given them confidence.

"I'm not surprised because we're a pretty good team," Richardson said. "It just doesn't show in our record."

Richardson was 14-of-22 from the floor in his second-best shooting effort of the season. He's averaging 20.0 points for the season, but 29.0 in the last seven games.

Gerald Wallace was held below 20 points for the first time in seven games when he scored 15 Wednesday, but he recorded his fourth double-double in the last five games with 10 rebounds.

Charlotte has not won three straight since a four-game winning streak Feb. 14-23.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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