CLEVELAND — It was Cleveland coach Mike Brown’s kind of game, which means it wasn’t pretty.
The Cavaliers played above-average defense and the Los Angeles Clippers tossed up enough bricks to add a seventh story to Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, the result being an 88-82 Cleveland victory.
“I loved that game,” a smiling Brown said after the teams combined to miss 111 shots.
The Clippers (13-8), an extremely athletic team that lacks solid outside shooting, especially with J.J. Redick sidelined with a fractured right hand, were outscored 38-33 in a non-action-packed second half.
Los Angeles shot .322 from the field for the night and made just seven of 35 3-pointers. Blake Griffin was 3-for-12 from the floor, which means he was better than Willie Green (4-for-13), Chris Paul (4-for-16), Jamal Crawford (5-for-18) and Antawn Jamison
“Our guys brought their hard hats tonight,” Brown said. “We didn’t wait to get hit. We responded the way we’re supposed to from the outset.”
The Cavs (7-13) weren’t exactly a juggernaut offensively, shooting .373 from the field (31-for-83), but that didn’t prevent them from winning for the third time in their last four games.
A night after going scoreless for the first time in his NBA career, Kyrie Irving put up 20 points, but it took 6-for-15 shooting to do it.
A night after he scored 30 points in Atlanta, Dion Waiters went a woeful 1-for-10 from the floor, but made what Brown called “the biggest play of the game” when he rebounded his own missed free throw with 22 second left and the Cavs clinging to a four-point lead.
Toss in 20 points and 13 rebounds from Tristan Thompson, 18 points and six boards from Andrew Bynum, 11 points and a season-high 17 rebounds from Anderson Varejao, plus 11 points and nine boards from guard Jarrett Jack, and Brown was smiling from ear to ear in his postgame press conference.
“Coach Brown likes any defense, anybody who’s out there competing,” Irving said. “That’s what we want to do for him.”
Down one at halftime, the Clippers scored just three points over the first 8:45 of the third period, but were still down just eight because the Cavs had managed only 10 points.
“We did a lot of pouting in the game,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. “You can’t play that way. I always call them emotional hijacks. We had a lot of that today.”
The Clippers hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the third period to go up 66-64, but Jack hit a half-court heave at the buzzer to give the Cavs a lead they never relinquished.
Los Angeles had some chances, but it didn’t make nearly enough shots and its frustration finally boiled over.
With 2:21 left in the game, Varejao was called for a foul on Griffin, who then got a technical for pushing “The Wild Thing” to the floor. A small fracas ensued, with Jack also getting a “T.”
“It was just a basketball play,” Varejao said. “(It was) nothing, really.”
Asked why he was laughing at the time, Varejao said, “I was surprised the way he reacted. It was pretty funny to me.”
The effort and toughness were beautiful to Brown, who would much rather win 88-82 than 108-102.
“Loved it,” the coach said. “This is fun, the bodies flying all over the place and guys getting physical with one another.”
Irving has shot less than 50 percent in eight straight games. In that span, he’s 51-for-129 from the field (.395) and has had nights of 0-for-9, 7-for-21 and 6-for-19.
“I don’t care if he goes 0-for-30,” Brown said. “I want him to keep being aggressive.”
Irving had missed 14 straight shots entering Saturday, his last points coming at the 4:44 mark of the third period Wednesday against Denver. He made his first field goal attempt against the Clippers, that coming with 8:45 left in the opening quarter.
C.J. Miles started his seventh straight game for the Cavs at shooting guard. In those starts, he’s scored 30 points and is
10-for-41 from the field. In his last five games, Miles has 14 points on 4-for-25 shooting.
* A young male fan walked onto the floor with 3:02 left in the first half and tapped Irving on the shoulder as the point guard was getting back on defense.
The minor was apprehended by security and the matter was turned over to the Cleveland Police Department to determine what charges should be filed.
“He just said, ‘Kyrie, don’t leave,’” Irving said.
* In addition to Redick, the Clippers played minus small forward Matt Barnes (torn retina). Center DeAndre Jordan suffered a strained right arch during the game.
* Chronicle-Telegram contributor Brian Dulik, who also writes for nba.com, was recognized on the scoreboard for attending his 500th consecutive Cavs game. Dulik’s streak began on March 22, 2001.
Cavs 88, Clippers 82
L.A. CLIPPERS (82): Dudley 4-8 0-0 8, Griffin 3-12 4-6 10, Jordan 5-7 2-3 12, Paul 4-16 4-6 13, Green 4-13 1-2 11, Crawford 5-18 7-7 19, Hollins 0-0 0-0 0, Bullock 0-2 0-0 0, Collison 3-5 0-0 8, Jamison 0-6 1-2 1. Totals 28-87 19-26 82.
CLEVELAND (88): Gee 0-4 0-0 0, Thompson 7-15 6-11 20, Bynum 8-13 2-2 18, Irving 6-15 7-8 20, Miles 1-7 2-2 5, Waiters 1-10 1-2 3, Jack 3-7 4-5 11, Varejao 3-7 0-0 6, Clark 2-5 0-0 5, Bennett 0-0 0-0 0, Dellavedova 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-83 22-30 88.
L.A. Clippers 23 26 17 16 — 82
Cleveland 29 21 17 21 — 88
3-Point Goals—L.A. Clippers 7-35 (Collison 2-3, Green 2-8, Crawford 2-9, Paul 1-6, Bullock 0-1, Dudley 0-3, Jamison 0-5), Cleveland 4-14 (Irving 1-2, Jack 1-2, Miles 1-4, Clark 1-4, Waiters 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—L.A. Clippers 58 (Jordan 13), Cleveland 68 (Varejao 17). Assists—L.A. Clippers 24 (Paul 15), Cleveland 18 (Irving 6). Total Fouls—L.A. Clippers 21, Cleveland 21. Technicals—Griffin, L.A. Clippers defensive three second, Jack, Cleveland defensive three second 2. A—16,216 (20,562).