Cavs' Irving comes good when it matters most

DALLAS • Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving drilled a deep three-pointer with 13 seconds to go in overtime that sealed the Cavaliers' eighth consecutive victory in the National Basketball Association, 110-107 over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Centre.

Dallas guard Deron Williams thought he drew an offensive charge on Cavaliers forward LeBron James but the whistle was not blown.

James passed up on an open jumper from 15 feet and passed way out to Irving in the deep wing, and what had been a frustrating shooting night for Irving turned into a Dallas soul-crusher.

"It's just the confidence I have in him and he has the confidence in himself," James said.

The Mavs (22-17) will look back at Tuesday night and wonder how they allowed James and Co to escape with a win.

Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving going up for a shot, as Dallas guard Deron Williams fails to stop him during their NBA game. The Cavaliers defeated the Mavericks 110-107 in overtime despite not leading till one minute into the final quarter.
Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving going up for a shot, as Dallas guard Deron Williams fails to stop him during their NBA game. The Cavaliers defeated the Mavericks 110-107 in overtime despite not leading till one minute into the final quarter. PHOTO: REUTERS

Dallas jumped out early to a 23-7 lead, kept the Cavs at arm's length through three quarters and had a chance to win on the final possession in overtime.

The Cavs did not crack 40 per cent from the floor until overtime, heaved 44 three-point attempts and for much of the night, Irving and forward Kevin Love could not buy a basket.

Dallas forward Chandler Parsons, who compiled 25 points and eight rebounds, put the hosts up 105-104 with 1min 10sec to go in overtime, putting back an offensive rebound after a wild possession.

James, who finished with a game-high 27 points after taking just three shots in the fourth quarter, answered quickly with a driving lay-up to put Cleveland up 106-105.

Williams missed a straight-away three to set up Irving's final basket to give him 22 points on eight-of-20 shooting.

Dirk Nowitzki had a chance to end the Cavs' seven-game win streak in the final seconds of regulation. Isolated on Cleveland guard Iman Shumpert at the top of the key, Shumpert's long right arm stripped Nowitzki before he could go up for a patented fall-away.

Just before that, the Cavs needed a two-handed dunk by James to tie the game at 95 apiece with 20 seconds left in regulation.

Cleveland, who improve their record to 27-9, trailed at times by as many as 11, and did not lead until a minute into the fourth quarter.

"We knew we weren't going to blow them out. We knew that the lead at some point was going to get chipped away," Mavs guard Wesley Matthews said. "But this was our game. We should have won it and we didn't."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Cavs' Irving comes good when it matters most'. Print Edition | Subscribe