|Date of game: 1/16/2015
Recap: LA Clippers vs. Cleveland
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for 69 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers went into Staples Center and beat the LA Clippers 126-121 on Friday.
Irving scored a game-high 37 points, hitting 12-for-18 from the floor and five of his seven 3-point attempts. James continued his strong play since missing a career-high eight straight games with knee and back injuries, tallying 32 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Tristan Thompson filled in admirably for the injured Kevin Love, adding 24 points and 12 boards in the spot start. Love missed the game with back spasms.
"We're a good shooting team and tonight they went down for us," said Cavaliers coach David Blatt. "We went through some tough times but we're staying together."
Cleveland, which had lost six in a row before arriving at Staples Center for Thursday's game against the Lakers, has won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game win streak in mid-December.
The Cavs trailed for most of the third quarter and early in the fourth, but flipped the script with seven straight points. Irving started the flurry with a 3 and James capped it with a three-point play.
After DeAndre Jordan's alley-oop had the Clippers within 104-102, Irving hit another triple to keep them at arm's length. The lead grew to 10 points on James' well-contested 3 at 4:35.
With less than a minute to play and the Cavaliers holding a 119-115 lead, Irving was trapped near midcourt and they were forced to use a timeout.
On the ensuing inbounds, James fired a pass to Thompson, who had wiggled free after setting a screen for Irving, at the basket for a layup plus a foul. Thompson made the free throw to make it 122-115.
Turnovers on consecutive possessions led to a pair of LA baskets, but Matthew Dellavedova made two from the stripe with nine seconds to play to secure the win.
"I'm happy we got the win," Irving said. "We're communicating more and making the right plays down the stretch. We trust one another out there."
Blake Griffin had 34 points and 10 boards, Chris Paul totaled 15 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds and Jordan had 19 points and 12 boards in defeat.
"They made a lot of shots, but we can be a better defensive team than that," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
The game also marked history, as the Clippers became the first team in league history to have a father coach his son in an NBA game. Austin Rivers was acquired in a trade from Boston earlier this week and suited up for the first time with his new team. He played 12 scoreless minutes off the bench, finishing 0-for-4.
Irving's 3 early in the third gave the Cavs a 72-71 lead. The Clippers scored the next eight points, prompting Cleveland to use a Hack-A-Jordan strategy, fouling Jordan nearly every trip down the floor and forcing the career 42 percent free throw shooter to prove it from the line.
Jordan shot 5-for-12 in the period and the Clips played solid defense on the other end as they built a pair of nine-point leads. Two free throws from Jamal Crawford at 2:53 made it 91-82, but Cleveland pulled to within 95-92 after three.
Earlier, Cleveland shot 58.1 percent in the first half but trailed 64-61 at halftime.Game Notes
James passed the 24,000 point mark, becoming the youngest player in league
history to reach that milestone ... The Cavaliers have two days off before
returning to Cleveland for a four-game homestand ... Paul has at least 14
assists in four straight games against Cleveland ... Matt Barnes had 17 points
with eight rebounds for LA ... Both teams made 10 3-pointers ... The Clippers
turned 20 Cleveland turnovers into 33 points.