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By Steve Reed | Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Al Jefferson scored 28 points, Kemba Walker had 20 points and 14 assists, and the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-92 Friday night for their sixth straight win at home.
Jefferson shot 12-of-18 from the field and reached 20 points for the 22nd time in his last 24 games. Chris Douglas-Roberts added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and a season-high nine rebounds for Charlotte (29-33), which surpassed its win total from the previous two seasons combined.
The Bobcats, seventh in the Eastern Conference, improved to 3-0 this season against the Cavaliers and now own the tiebreaker against both Detroit and Cleveland, the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the East.
Dion Waiters and Luol Deng each scored 19 points for Cleveland, which began the night 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East.
Charlotte's six-game home winning streak is its longest since a seven-game run in March 2010.
The Bobcats defeated the Cavaliers by six points in each of the two previous meetings this season without Jefferson, who sat out both games with a sprained ankle.
Jefferson had 38 points against Miami and 34 in a win over Indiana this week, and was a big factor from the outset against the Cavaliers. He used a series of pump fakes and up-and-under moves to fool the Cavaliers, and continued to knock down his mid-range jump shot.
The 6-foot-10 center scored 18 points in the first half on 8-of-10 shooting to help Charlotte build a 55-50 lead at the break despite the Cavaliers shooting 55 percent from the field.
Cleveland took an 81-80 lead on a pair of free throws by Waiters with 7 minutes left in the game. But Walker matched that with two free throws of his own and knocked down a jumper to spark a 15-5 run that put Charlotte safely ahead.
The Cavaliers shot just 32 percent in the second half.
Walker has 61 points in the Bobcats' three games against the Cavaliers this season.
Charlotte held Kyrie Irving to 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Irving came in averaging 24.5 points in his previous four games in Charlotte.
Josh McRoberts added 11 points and seven assists for the Bobcats.
Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson missed his third straight game with a right calf strain.
Anderson Varejao (back) and C.J. Miles (ankle) were back at practice this week but didn't make the trip to Charlotte, which meant Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson were left to defend Jefferson.