Charlotte, NC – Kyrie Irving scored the deciding basket with one second left as the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Charlotte Bobcats, 106-104, at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Cleveland blew an 18-point third-quarter lead but still managed to halt a three-game losing streak mostly because of Irving, with the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year recording 14 of his game-high 33 points over the final 4 1/2 minutes.
Tristan Thompson also helped the Cavs notch only their fourth win in 18 games by compiling a season-best 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting and pulling down 13 rebounds. C.J. Miles contributed 18 points to the triumph.
Ben Gordon led Charlotte's near-comeback by pouring in 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, but the Bobcats couldn't come up with a second consecutive victory after ending their 18-game skid with Monday's 91-81 decision at Chicago.
Ramon Sessions added 20 points for Charlotte, while Gerald Henderson hit 4- of-5 attempts from 3-point range en route to 17 points.
Charlotte trailed 81-63 with five minutes left in the third quarter and 86-74 to start the fourth, but came storming back with a 17-4 run in which Gordon scored eight points and Sessions tallied seven. Gordon's floater with 5:04 to go brought the Bobcats within 90-89, and Sessions sank two free throws on the team's next trip for a 91-90 edge.
Irving had an answer, though, drilling a pair of 3-pointers in between Gordon going 1-of-2 from the foul line to put the Cavs up 96-92 with 3:51 left.
Charlotte again fought back to tie it less than a minute later, with a 3-point play from Sessions forging a 98-98 deadlock. The game would be knotted three more times down the stretch, the last of which came when Henderson made a clutch hook shot with 16 seconds remaining to make it 104-104.
Cleveland then called timeout and placed its fate in Irving's hands, and the young point guard delivered by dribbling down the clock before lofting a 12- foot pull-up that found the net with 1.0 seconds left.
"Those moments I kind of look for," said Irving. "To have the ability to make it and have the trust of my teammates and the trust of the coaching staff down the stretch, it's a blessing."
Henderson missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
The Cavaliers were in front most of the way, with Miles pouring in 11 points and knocking down three shots from beyond the arc over the game's first six minutes to stake Cleveland to a quick 13-8 lead.
It remained a 5-point spread in Cleveland's favor a minute into the second quarter, before the Cavaliers embarked on a 15-4 run to go up comfortably. Dion Waiters put up seven points during the spurt, which the rookie ended with a fastbreak dunk and free throw off a Charlotte turnover for a 46-30 advantage with eight minutes remaining before intermission.
Henderson drilled a couple of triples to highlight a 10-0 sequence that brought the Bobcats within seven late in the half, but Cleveland closed out the period on an 10-3 burst and took a 62-48 lead into the break after Miles beat the buzzer with an outside jumper to cap a 16-point individual outburst over the initial two quarters.
The Cavaliers maintained a double-digit margin throughout the third quarter, before Gordon and Sessions sparked Charlotte's late rally.
"We waited too long to do what we did, but once we closed the gap and went up it was a matter of trying to get stops and executing offensively," said Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap. "And we did pretty doggone well."
Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas returned to action for the first time since Nov. 17 after missing 23 games with a left calf strain. He finished with four points in nearly 13 minutes ... Charlotte rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was back in the team's lineup after sitting out Monday's win with a scratched cornea in his right eye ... The Bobcats have now dropped 10 straight home games since a 98-97 win over Toronto on Nov. 21 ... Cleveland posted its fifth consecutive victory in the series ... Thompson's previous season high was 17 points, set at Brooklyn on Dec. 29.