November 26, 2014

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If at first you don’t succeed: Kyrie Irving makes third game-winning attempt count as Cavaliers down 76ers in 2OT

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, left, shoots between Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young, right, during the fourth quarter Saturday in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won, 127-125, in double overtime. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, left, shoots between Philadelphia 76ers’ Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young, right, during the fourth quarter Saturday in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won, 127-125, in double overtime. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND — On this night, one out of three was good enough.

After missing potential game-winning shots at the end of regulation and the first overtime, Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving hit a left-handed drive in traffic with 0.6 seconds left in the second OT Saturday for a thrilling 127-125 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers (4-3) threw the ball away on their subsequent inbounds pass and Cleveland (3-4) killed the clock to send a sellout crowd home happy.

“Thirty-three percent is not bad,” Irving joked. “I’ll take that any day.”

Irving, who had 25 of his season-high 39 points in the second half, missed a twisting layup in traffic at the end of regulation and a contested left-handed drive in the first OT.

Given a third chance, he capitalized to finish the night 15-for-33 from the field, 5-for-12 on 3-pointers and 4-for-6 at the line.

The 21-year-old also had five rebounds and 12 assists in 48 minutes.

“I was shocked it got to three (chances),” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “He’s a spectacular player. Each time, I thought he took the right shot. I applaud him for trying to close the game the right way.”

There were numbers galore and a ton of fairly lengthy video reviews in this one as the Cavs halted an ugly two-game losing streak.
They did so by riding a three-guard lineup of Irving, Dion Waiters (season-high 24 points, including 22 after intermission, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals) and Jarrett Jack (season-high 20 points).

Those three were on the floor with Tristan Thompson (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Anderson Varejao (13 points, 10 rebounds) for virtually all of the fourth quarter and two OTs, save for a couple of brief situational substitutions.

Thompson matched Irving by playing 48 minutes, while Waiters (44), Varejao (43) and Jack (37), who doesn’t start, weren’t far behind.

“We had a lot of guys that were really good for us,” Brown said.

So did the Sixers, who got 31 points and 10 rebounds from Thaddeus Young, a season-high 29 points from Evan Turner, who hit a number of clutch shots while looking like he did at Ohio State, and 21 points, seven rebounds and 13 assists from impressive rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams.

Carter-Williams, who tied the game by hitting a contested 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds left in the second OT, played 49 minutes, with all five Sixers starters playing at least 42.

“What a game,” Brown said. “(There was) big play after big play after big play on both ends of the floor.”

As thrilling as the game was to watch, the Cavs made things hard on themselves with a horrid third quarter in which they were outscored 37-22 to turn a five-point halftime lead into a 10-point deficit.

That’s when Brown went to the three-guard lineup along with Thompson and Varejao, and the Cavs got right back in the game early in the fourth quarter.

“It was the right time to experiment,” Brown said. “It worked out.”

Brown also started Alonzo Gee (two points in 20 minutes) in place of Earl Clark, who did not play, and used Matthew Dellavedova (two assists) and Henry Sims (four points, five rebounds in 13 minutes) in the first quarter.

Tip-ins

Cavs center Andrew Bynum took the night off to rest his knees, but Brown said the goal is to eventually start the 26-year-old.

Cavaliers 127, 76ers 125

PHILADELPHIA (125): Young 11-18 5-6 29, Turner 9-23 11-13 31, Hawes 6-13 0-0 13, Carter-Williams 9-17 0-0 21, Anderson 2-5 0-0 5, Allen 3-6 0-0 6, Wroten 1-7 2-2 4, Morris 5-7 0-0 12, Davies 1-3 2-2 4. Totals 47-99 20-23 125.
CLEVELAND (127): Gee 1-3 0-0 2, T.Thompson 6-10 7-8 19, Varejao 5-10 3-4 13, Irving 15-33 4-5 39, Waiters 9-19 3-6 24, Zeller 0-0 0-0 0, Jack 7-14 3-4 20, Miles 2-8 0-0 6, Dellavedova 0-1 0-0 0, Bennett 0-1 0-0 0, Sims 1-3 2-2 4. Totals 46-102 22-29 127.
Philadelphia 27 21 37 22 9 9 — 125
Cleveland 30 23 22 32 9 11 — 127
3-Point Goals—Philadelphia 11-27 (Carter-Williams 3-3, Morris 2-3, Young 2-3, Turner 2-8, Hawes 1-4, Anderson 1-4, Wroten 0-2), Cleveland 13-31 (Irving 5-12, Waiters 3-5, Jack 3-6, Miles 2-5, Dellavedova 0-1, Gee 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Philadelphia 57 (Hawes 11), Cleveland 61 (T.Thompson, Varejao 10). Assists—Philadelphia 24 (Carter-Williams 13), Cleveland 28 (Irving 12). Total Fouls—Philadelphia 22, Cleveland 21. A—20,562 (20,562).

NEXT UP

WHO: Cleveland vs. Chicago
WHEN: Monday, 8 p.m.
WHERE: United Center, Chicago
TV/RADIO: FS Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM