Irving surges late to lift Cavs


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 either, 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.”

Clippers 101, Rockets 93

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 23 points and 16 rebounds, reserve Darren Collison scored seven of his 19 points in the final 2:09 to help the Clippers beat Houston.

Los Angeles won for the sixth time in eight games, converting 20 Rocket turnovers into 30 points. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his 30th double-double. His previous career high was 12 last season.

Jamal Crawford, who had a season-high seven 3-pointers Monday night in a win at New Orleans, was 1-for-6 behind the arc against the Rockets and left the game for good with 13 seconds remaining in the first half because of a left calf strain. He played 15 minutes and had eight points.

Bulls 103, Warriors 83

In Chicago, Taj Gibson scored 21 points, Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls used a big third-quarter run to win for the seventh time in eight games by pounding Golden State.

Jimmy Butler scored 16 points after missing two games with bruised ribs, Mike Dunleavy Jr. added 15, and Joakim Noah grabbed 17 rebounds for the Bulls.

Mavericks 108, Pelicans 89

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki shook off an early shoulder issue to finish with 18 points in Dallas’ victory and New Orleans All-Star Anthony Davis was knocked out of the game with a similar problem.

The Mavericks are a season-high 13 games over .500 after their fourth straight win, and the Pelicans stayed winless since the All-Star break at 0-5.

Trail Blazers 124, Nets 80

In Portland, Will Barton had a season-high 20 points and career-high 11 rebounds, providing a spark off the bench for the short-handed Blazers.

Portland won its fourth straight game despite missing forward LaMarcus Aldridge. The team’s top scorer and rebounder has been out five games with a left groin sprain.

Spurs 120, Pistons 110

In San Antonio, Marco Belinelli had 20 points to lead eight Spurs in double figures.

Kawhi Leonard had 15 points in his return from a 14-game absence due to a broken finger. Manu Ginobili scored 16 points, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter had 13 apiece, Boris Diaw added 12, Patty Mills 11 and Cory Joseph 10.

Jazz 109, Suns 86

In Salt Lake City, Gordon Hayward had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead a balanced offense and Utah cruised to victory.

The Jazz shot 57.5 percent from the field, the highest mark of any Phoenix opponent this season.

Grizzlies 108, Lakers 103

In Memphis, Courtney Lee scored 18 points, Marc Gasol had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and the Grizzlies weathered Los Angeles’ late 3-point shooting display.

Celtics 115, Hawks 104

In Boston, Jerryd Bayless scored a season-high 29 points in a rare start, and Rajon Rondo added 22 points and 11 assists.

Magic 101, 76ers 90

In Philadelphia, Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Nik Vucevic had 21 points and 13 rebounds to help Orlando snap a 16-game road losing streak.