Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied late to earn a 105-100 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.
Irving, who was coming off a superb All-Star weekend which saw him score 32 points in the Rising Stars Challenge, win the Three-Point Shootout and appear in his first All-Star contest, shot 6-of-9 in the final quarter. He finished the game adding seven assists and five rebounds as the Cavaliers stopped a three-game skid.
Dion Waiters had 16 points and C.J. Miles and Alonzo Gee chipped in 11 and 10, respectively, in the Cavaliers' first game since the midseason break.
Brian Roberts paced New Orleans with 17 points and Robin Lopez scored 15 for the Hornets, who have lost two straight. Greivis Vasquez registered 13 points and eight assists in the defeat.
"He had a really good game," Hornets coach Monty Williams admitted of Irving. "I think for the most part we gave in (by) allowing him to go the basket."
Wayne Ellington tied the game at 83-83 with five minutes to play, before Irving played like a man possessed. He scored 11 straight points to fuel an 11-2 run which saw the Cavs pull away for a 94-85 edge with 1:48 remaining.
"I thought he did a great job of just getting himself some space, getting to the basket and finishing," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said of Irving in the fourth. "He just kind of put us on his back."
Lopez's short hook shot gave the visitors a 44-43 advantage one minute into the third quarter, but Tyler Zeller and Irving heated up during a 22-12 stretch which saw Cleveland take a 65-56 margin with 4:07 left in the stanza.
Once again, the lead was short-lived as the Hornets stepped up defensively to allow just three points to close the quarter and head into the fourth up 69-68.
The Cavs jumped out to a 9-2 lead just over 3 1/2 minutes into the contest, but the Hornets answered with a 14-2 swing to take a 16-11 edge. The action was knotted up at 20-20 after one quarter.
The home team led at the break, 43-41.
The Cavs improved to 9-3 in the last 12 matchups with the Hornets at Quicken Loans Arena ... The contest was the finale of a seven-game homestand (4-3) for Cleveland ... The Cavaliers begin a three-game road trip Saturday against Orlando, then continue on to Miami and Chicago ... Tristan Thompson added nine points and a game-best 13 boards for the Cavs ... New Orleans guard Eric Gordon did not play since he's still healing from a knee injury .... The Hornets fell to 10-20 away from home ... The game had 15 ties and eight lead changes.