Cavs Top World Champs at The Q

Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 20 points in Saturday's win.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE.Getty Images
Kyrie Irving knows how to save his best for last. And on Saturday night at The Q, the reigning Rookie of the Month showed the World Champs what the rest of us have witnessed in his brief-but-brilliant freshman campaign – the kid doesn’t shrink from pressure.

With 2:45 to play and Cleveland trailing by one, Irving canned a layup to put the Cavs ahead. Anderson Varejao hit a jumper to push the lead to three. But Jason Terry got Dallas within a point with a pair of free throws.

On the next possession, with the wound-up crowd on its feet, Irving wheeled his way through the Dallas defense and spun home a tight reverse layup off the glass to put the Wine and Gold up three with 15.8 to play.

The Mavericks missed a pair of game-tying attempts as time expired and the Cavaliers sealed their biggest win of the season – knocking off the NBA Champs in a 91-88 thriller on Saturday night in Cleveland.

“I told (Irving) to just run this one play that we have been running,” explained Coach Byron Scott. “Just keep the ball in his hands to where he can make a decision. Be aggressive and look to score for himself or see if he can get it to his teammates – and he was able to get it all the way to the basket.”

Irving led the Cavaliers with 20 points – adding seven assists, four boards, two steals and just a single turnover. But he was just one of the heroes from Saturday’s big win.

“I just feel my teammate’s confidence down the stretch,” said Irving. “They continue to give me the ball and they have the confidence in me to make the right play, whether if it’s for myself or them. Once you have that confidence, it’s easy going into the fourth quarter.”

Anderson Varejao continues his incredible tear – matching his uniform number with 17 points and 17 boards, going 8-for-13 from the floor with three assists.

In his last three contests, the Wild Thing is averaging 16.3 points and 17.3 rebounds (including 6.7 off the offensive glass).

Antawn Jamison added 19 points and nine boards to round out the starters in double-figures. And the Cavaliers got another strong showing from a pair of big bench players – Alonzo Gee and Ramon Sessions.

Gee followed up a career-high 20-point night on Friday with 12 more on Saturday against Dallas – netting seven of those in the fourth quarter. Sessions didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but led both teams in assists for the third straight game, tallying eight helpers off Byron Scott’s bench.

Dirk Nowtizki led everyone with 24 points – hitting his first five shots before half, but missing all five attempts in the third quarter. That’s when the Wine and Gold made their hay, going on a 13-0 run after intermission to take control of the contest.

After a day off to enjoy the Super Bowl, the Cavaliers travel to Miami for a rematch with the Heat on Tuesday night.

  • Varejao’s 17-point, 17-rebound game marked his 12th double-double of the season and 54th of his career. The league’s leader in offensive rebounding has now grabbed 15 or more boards in three straight contests. The last Cavalier to reach that mark was Brad Daugherty in 1994.

  • Ramon Sessions also got into the history books – handing out eight or more assists in three straight games off the bench. The last Cavalier reserve to accomplish that was Brevin Knight in 2000.

  • A few Cavaliers and their coaches weighed in on their Super Bowl picks on the eve of the big game. Joe Prunty, Mychel Thompson and Omri Casspi like the Patriots. (“Green Bay Packers,” Casspi joked initially.) On the Giants side were Samardo Samuels, Cavs legend Jim Chones and Coach Byron Scott, who added: “You know me, I don’t root for any team from Boston.”

  • Delonte West, who played 150 games with the Wine and Gold, got a good-sized ovation when he was introduced with the Mavericks starting lineup. (Although most of the Mavericks, who knocked off the Heat in the Finals last June, received a warm reception.)

  • Daniel Gibson missed his fourth straight game, still nursing a soft tissue infection in his neck and Anthony Parker missed his third straight with a strained low back. Tristan Thompson (left ankle sprain) was also inactive for Saturday’s affair.

  • The Cavaliers are now 8-0 this season when they’re tied or leading after three quarters.

  • In last Sunday’s win over the Celtics didn’t allow a single point in the final 4:25 of regulation. In Saturday’s win over the Mavs, they held Dallas without a field goal in the final 4:14.