WASHINGTON — Kyrie Irving equaled his career high with 41 points, including nine in the overtime session, and the Cavaliers rallied from a 15-point deficit in the first half for a 103-96 victory over the Washington Wizards and their first road win of the season.
Irving, who began the night shooting just 38 percent, made 14 of 28 shots (including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers) and delivered the first seven points of overtime for the Cavs.
With the game tied at 90, Irving had a chance to win it at the buzzer in regulation, but Nene poked the ball away from him on his drive to the basket and the Wizards recovered with one second left.
The game went to overtime when Nene’s 3-point attempt from the corner at the buzzer never made it to the rim.
After the game, Cavs coach Mike Brown raved about Irving’s leadership during the comeback and overtime.
“It was a heck of a win for our guys. They just kept fighting,” Brown said.
“Kyrie was terrific in the huddles. He showed some true leadership throughout the course of the game, especially when we were down 15 in the first half.
“If he had a microphone on in the huddles, everybody would be able to appreciate the way he kept everybody into it mentally. The other veterans stepped up and helped him out. We had a lot of good performances from a lot of different guys. I slid Earl to the (power forward), and I thought Earl hit some big threes for us at the four-spot for us tonight.”
Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Jarrett Jack had 13 points off the bench. The Cavaliers recovered from another miserable start to the game offensively. They made just four baskets in the first quarter and shot only 27 percent and fell behind 38-23 in the second quarter before fighting back.
Andrew Bynum returned to the team after missing two games to deal with a family medical matter and had six points and three rebounds. C.J. Miles again started at shooting guard in place of Dion Waiters, who was not with the team.
Much of Saturday focused around a players-only meeting the Cavs held after Wednesday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, when a few heated exchanges took place among players.
The meeting was first reported by ESPN.com.
“Things happen,” Jack said. “We’re able to talk amongst one another. You can have a disagreement. That’s very much OK.”
“It’s not against the law. But the whole thing about it is, if you’re going to have a talk or any conversation, a resolution should be the reason for having it in the first place. That was the whole reason why we called the meeting, had the discussions. I like the place that we’re in right now.”
There has been rampant speculation about Waiters’ illness, which happens to coincide with Wednesday’s postgame meeting. But Brown said Waiters is legitimately sick and has seen a doctor twice because of it.
“Somebody says they’re sick, they go to the doctor, the doctor takes care of it and we move on,” Brown said.
Jack thought the players-only meeting served its purpose.
“Any team that’s good, or strives to be good, you have to police yourself, period, point blank,” he said. “There’s only so much the coaches can say. There’s only so much other individuals can say. We’re the guys out there in the foxhole.”
CAVS 103, WIZARDS 96
CLEVELAND (103): Clark 4-6 0-0 11, Thompson 6-11 3-3 15, Bynum 2-8 2-2 6, Irving 14-28 9-9 41, Miles 2-3 2-2 8, Varejao 0-3 2-2 2, Gee 1-2 1-2 3, Jack 5-13 2-2 13, Karasev 1-2 0-0 2, Dellavedova 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 36-81 21-22 103.
WASHINGTON (96): Webster 4-12 4-4 14, Nene 9-16 6-9 24, Gortat 6-13 0-0 12, Wall 3-13 3-3 9, Beal 11-25 2-2 28, Seraphin 1-5 0-0 2, Rice Jr. 0-5 1-2 1, Temple 1-1 0-0 2, Vesely 2-3 0-2 4. Totals 37-93 16-22 96.
Cleveland 18 26 20 26 13 — 103
Washington 25 24 20 21 6 — 96
3-Point Goals—Cleveland 10-21 (Irving 4-7, Clark 3-4, Miles 2-2, Jack 1-4, Karasev 0-1, Varejao 0-1, Dellavedova 0-2), Washington 6-25 (Beal 4-9, Webster 2-8, Nene 0-1, Rice Jr. 0-3, Wall 0-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Cleveland 51 (Thompson 12), Washington 57 (Gortat 11). Assists—Cleveland 18 (Varejao 6), Washington 22 (Wall 12). Total Fouls—Cleveland 19, Washington 17. A—18,038 (20,308).