Irving scores 31, leads Cavaliers past Thunder

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm •  Published: February 26, 2014
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder coach Scott Brooks joked during pregame that he didn't like what he saw from Kyrie Irving at the All-Star game. Brooks coached the West and watched as Irving led the East to a comeback win on his way to earning MVP honors.

Brooks didn't like what he saw from Irving on Wednesday night, and it was no joke this time. The point guard made it look like All-Star weekend again, scoring 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Oklahoma City 114-104.

Irving also had nine assists, five rebounds and four steals.

"Kyrie had a huge performance for us," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He was very efficient in the 43 minutes that he played tonight, I thought offensively, especially."

The young Cavaliers, still adjusting to roster changes since the trade deadline, picked up a meaningful victory. Cleveland shot 14 for 21 from the field in the fourth quarter against the Western Conference-leading Thunder.

"To come here and get a win in this building versus this team and those players and that coaching staff, for us, is a good confidence booster," Brown said. "Everything for us right now to be a positive will help us long term just as much as it will short term."

It was Oklahoma City's third straight home loss since the All-Star break. The Thunder lost three games at home the entire season before the break.

"No one in the locker room, including myself, feels good about it," Brooks said. "The exciting thing is we know we can do better. We just have to maximize our potential."

Jarrett Jack scored 21 points, Spencer Hawes scored 19 and Tristan Thompson added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Kevin Durant had 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, Russell Westbrook had 24 points and nine assists and Serge Ibaka added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 0-3 since Westbrook returned from his latest knee surgery.

Brooks said the bigger issue for the Thunder is their suddenly porous defense. Oklahoma City, one of the league's top defensive teams all season, allowed 103 points on 55 percent shooting against Miami and 125 points on 52 percent shooting against the Los Angeles Clippers before its latest collapse.

"It's a defensive toughness," Brooks said. "We have to get tough on the basketball because we're giving up too much penetration. We have to fight through screens. These are things that we've done a great job at, we just have to get back to it."

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