Portland, OR – Kyrie Irving sank clutch shots late and finished with a game-high 31 points, as the Cleveland Cavaliers held on for a 93-88 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Irving put his team ahead for good with a pullup jumper late in the contest and sank a pair of free throws to put the game on ice, ending a four-game road skid for the Cavs. He also added five assists and four steals.
Tristan Thompson tallied a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds and Tyler Zeller added 11 points and nine boards in the triumph.
Portland once again suffered defeat in heartbreaking fashion after rallying from a 19-point deficit to take the lead. Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson all posted double-doubles, but the Trail Blazers dropped their fourth straight game.
Batum scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but committed nine of Portland's 19 turnovers. Aldridge tallied 15 points and 10 boards and Hickson finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
"Turnovers," said Portland's Wesley Matthews on the difference in the game. "Turnovers gave them too many second chance points. They played harder than us. It's hard to beat any team jumping out to a 17 point deficit, but we fought back. We just didn't finish it."
Portland, which trailed by 17 points at halftime, came all the way back to knot the score at 75-75 with just over six minutes to play in the game.
Behind by nine to start the fourth, Damian Lillard scored eight of 13 points during a 10-1 Blazers run and capped the surge by draining a triple from the top of the arc to bring Portland even.
After C.J. Miles knocked down a jumper to bring Cleveland's edge back up to five, Hickson and Batum answered with buckets before Lillard hit a long jumper to give Portland its first lead since the opening minutes of the contest at 86-85 with 2:07 to go.
However, Irving answered at the other end with a 21-footer and then increased the Cavs' lead to three with 26.5 seconds remaining by banking a difficult shot off the glass.
Aldridge hit a quick turnaround fadeaway to cut the Trail Blazers' deficit to one, but Portland was forced to foul the rest of the way and Irving and Zeller each hit a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach.
Thanks to an 11-1 run, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 19-8 lead just past the midway point in the first. Irving followed a Miles triple with a three-point play and then capped the surge with a pair of free throws.
Irving tallied 15 points in the first, scoring the Cavaliers' last three buckets of the quarter to help them to a 26-21 edge.
"I'm just taking what the defense gives me," said Irving. "It's more of a feel from game to game, and tonight my shots were going in in the first quarter."
Zeller then opened up a double-digit lead for the Cavs with a three-point play two minutes into the second. He then followed with a pair of layups around two free throws from Dion Waiters to bring Cleveland's margin to 39-23.
The Blazers, who shot just 29.4 percent and committed seven turnovers in the second quarter, were outscored 27-15 in the stanza and trailed 53-37 at halftime.
Cleveland scored 24 points off the 19 Portland turnovers ... The Trail Blazers had 27 second chance points to the Cavs' nine ... The Cavaliers snapped a four-game losing streak to Portland ... Coming off a career-high scoring effort against Sacramento, Waiters scored just five points on 1-of-9 shooting off the bench.