Kyrie Caps Cavalier Comeback
David Liam Kyle
Antawn Jamison set ‘em up. Kyrie Irving knocked ‘em down.
For the first three quarters in Cleveland, Jamison was the squad’s lone bright spot – notching 29 points and carrying the Cavs on his shoulders into the fourth period. At that point – with the Wine and Gold trailing by 11 – this June’s top pick took over.
Irving, who iced Sunday’s win over Sacramento with a pair of clutch free throws, netted 17 of his 25 points in the final quarter – willing the Cavaliers to the 101-100 win on Tuesday night at The Q.
Jamison went on to lead both clubs with 32 points on 11-for-22 shooting, adding 10 boards and a pair of assists.
“I have to give a lot of props to Antawn Jamison who I really thought, for the first three quarters, kept us in the game,” praised Coach Scott. “I thought he was really the only one that showed up the first three quarters and played terrific basketball.”
The Cavaliers trailed by 17 points late in the third quarter, and looked listless to that point. But Jamison and Ramon Sessions kept the contest close heading into the fourth. At that point, Irving keyed a 10-3 run to start the fourth. And midway through the quarter, Jamison’s three-pointer gave Cleveland their first lead since the first period.
Brandon Knight canned a three-pointer to knot the affair at 95-apiece with 1:02 to play. But Alonzo Gee’s dunk gave Cleveland the lead back for good. Daniel Gibson and Irving canned all four of their free throws in the final 11 seconds – and the Cavaliers needed every point, as Ben Gordon canned a three-pointer at the buzzer to draw Detroit to within a point before the confetti fell.
Gee netted 13 of his 16 points and six of his 11 boards in the decisive fourth quarter. Five of Gee’s rebounds were off the glass, with the third-year swingman adding three assists and a pair of steals.
Irving led both teams with a career-high eight assists. He went 8-for-15 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from long distance. The freshman phenom was perfect in six attempts from the stripe and added five boards, a pair of steals and a pair of blocks.
“Everyone says that the fourth quarter is the pressure quarter,” explained Irving. “I feel like our team is really prepared for the fourth quarter. There’s no pressure on us. We were down, but I had confidence in our team to get stops down the stretch and we did tonight. We started hitting shots and the crowd started getting into it and it felt good.”
The Wine and Gold finish the season’s unofficial first half on Wednesday night, hosting the Hornets in the final game before the All-Star break.
“(Being sent to Canton) was very humbling,” said Harris, who averaged 41 points per contest in his final two D-League contests. “I’m just a guy who tries to go hard anyway, so I was going to be hungry even if I did make the team. So I’m just going to come in and give 110 percent every day – defensively and offensively.”