Irving's 23 helps Cavaliers top Nuggets, 117-109

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2014 at 12:01 am •  Published: January 18, 2014
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DENVER (AP) — Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers used a balanced offensive attack to close out a successful Western Conference road trip.

Irving scored 23 points, Tristan Thompson had 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Cavaliers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-109 on Friday night.

Cleveland had five players score in double figures. C.J. Miles added 19 points, including four free throws down the stretch, and Luol Deng scored 18.

"Everyone has to be guarded," Irving said. "It's a luxury right now."

The Cavaliers finished their five-game trip with a 3-2 record after winning in Denver for the second time in three years. They led most of the way and held off a late rally by the Nuggets that cut a double-digit lead to three early in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland went 28 for 35 at the free-throw line, including 12 of 15 in the fourth quarter.

"We had each other's back because on the road it's us against the world," coach Mike Brown said. "We had a lot of guys step up. We were aggressive with 35 free-throw attempts."

Wilson Chandler scored 23 points and Ty Lawson had 19 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets, who have dropped two of three. Denver had won its last four home games, but fell to 11-9 at Pepsi Center this season. It had a 38-3 home record last season.

"These games should be in the win column," Lawson said. "We just keep letting easy games go. Our last month is tough, we've got to get these games right now."

The Nuggets attempted a season-high 37 3-pointers, making 14, but struggled from long range down the stretch.

"We were taking what the defense was giving us," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "In the second half we threw up a lot because we were down and we were trying to get back in the game. But I don't think our offense was hurting us - it was defense."

After Tyler Zeller's free throw made it 94-86 with 9:33 remaining, Evan Fournier hit a floating jump shot in the lane and Nate Robinson made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three. It was the closest Denver had been since the second quarter.

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