Irving scores 35 as Cavs defeat Hornets 105-100
CLEVELAND (AP) — Bright lights bring out the best in Kyrie Irving.
Coming off an impressive showing during All-Star weekend in Houston, Irving carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 105-100 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.
Irving scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, including 11 in a row and 18 of 20, to help the Cavaliers break away from an 83-all tie in the final 4:23.
"In the fourth quarter especially when it's winning time, obviously I want to win and my teammates want to win," he said. "Luckily, some shots went in."
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott sensed something big was about to happen when he put Irving back into the game with 7:08 remaining.
"You can see it coming," Scott said. "He gets a little bit of a gleam in his eye. He hits one or two shots and just kind of gets going."
The Hornets were obviously impressed.
"Kyrie had a real good game," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "He got to the basket whenever he tried to, especially late."
"Kyrie really took the game over and put his team on his back," guard Austin Rivers said. "We did a bad job trying to be physical with him. We just let him walk in the lane and get buckets. You've got to take some hard fouls and make guys earn it at the line, and we didn't."
Irving's performance brought the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena to its feet during the final minutes and had Irving pumping his fist on several occasions.
The game featured two former No. 1 overall draft picks: Irving and Hornets center Anthony Davis. Irving made 13 of 22 shots and all seven of his free throws while having seven assists. Davis had 12 points and four rebounds.
The Cavaliers placed five players in double figures in breaking a three-game losing streak, but the night belonged to Irving. After his fall-away jumper gave Cleveland a two-point lead, he hit a 3-pointer from a couple of steps behind the arc to put the Cavaliers ahead 88-83 and prompt New Orleans to call a timeout. It didn't help. Irving was just getting going.
New Orleans missed again on its ensuing possession and Irving converted a layup between two defenders on a fast break for a 90-83 lead. He added another basket after driving the lane and two free throws.
Irving drew national attention with his performance over the weekend. He scored 15 points in his first All-Star game, won the 3-point contest and put up 32 points in the Rising Stars Challenge.
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