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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unheralded Hudson guides Cavaliers past lowly Bobcats


CLEVELAND — Lester Hudson has taken Cleveland by storm.

News photo
Stay aggressive: Bobcats forward Corey Maggette takes a shot against Cavaliers center Samardo Samuels in first-quarter action in Cleveland on Tuesday. Cleveland defeated Charlotte 103-90. AP

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. Cleveland signed him to a second 10-day contract on Monday. It's almost guaranteed he'll finish the season with the Cavs 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 keep 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 shots.

"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 he's come in and contributed."

The Bobcats, a league-worst 7-49, haven't won since beating Toronto on March 17.

Celtics 115, Heat 107

In Miami, Paul Pierce scored 27 points, Kevin Garnett added 24 points and nine rebounds, and Boston made its first eight shots of the fourth quarter to hold off the Heat.

Rajon Rondo posted double-digit assists for the 18th straight game, extending the NBA's longest such streak in 20 years with an 18-point, 15-assist effort. Brandon Bass added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Avery Bradley scored 11 for the Celtics, who shot a season-high 61 percent.

LeBron James finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Miami, which got 20 from Dwyane Wade and 18 from Mario Chalmers.

Wizards 93, Magic 85

In Washington, Kevin Seraphin took advantage of Dwight Howard's absence from Orlando's lineup, getting career highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Wizards.

Washington's Jordan Crawford scored 21 points and John Wall had 15.

76ers 107, Nets 88

In Newark, New Jersey, Spencer Hawes came off the bench for the first time and scored a season-high 19 points for Philadelphia.

The loss eliminated the Nets (21-38) from playoff contention for the fifth straight season.

Mavericks 110, Kings 100

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki and Rodrigue Beaubouis each had 15 points to lead six Mavs players in double figures.

Delonte West and Jason Terry each had 13 points. Shawn Marion had 10 points and 14 boards.

Bulls 98, Knicks 86

In Chicago, Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Luol Deng added 19 for the Bulls, who played without Derrick Rose (sprained right ankle) again.

Hamilton came up with 18 points in the third quarter to help Chicago stay ahead after building a 12-point halftime lead.

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