Bobcats Best Cavaliers in OT
Wrap-Up – Kyrie Irving was outstanding against Charlotte at The Q, going off for a career-high and almost single-handedly keeping the Cavaliers in the game. But it was the one that got away that’ll probably keep him up on Saturday night, as Irving’s three-point attempt with 8.9 to play in overtime rimmed out to preserve the Bobcats lead and allow them to escape with the 96-94 win.
Irving was lights-out on Saturday, going 16-for-31 from the floor to set a new career mark with 44 points. Kryie scored 13 of Cleveland’s 21 points in the first quarter but went scoreless in the second. But he heated back up after intermission – notching 16 more points in the third quarter, canning three treys in the quarter. He added eight more in the final period, including a driving layup with 1:05 to play to give the Cavs a one-point lead and a 17-foot jumper to tie the affair with 25 seconds remaining.
Irving kept his foot on the gas in the extra-session, scoring seven of Cleveland’s 12 points. But Charlotte’s Al Jefferson was just as good and the Bobcats went 10-of-12 from the stripe in OT to protect the Bobcats’ late lead.
Dion Waiters was the only other Cavalier to tally double-figures – finishing with 14 points on 5-for-16 shooting and registering all three of Cleveland’s blocked shots. Tristan Thompson led the Wine and Gold with 12 boards.
Turning Point – The Bobcats extended their halftime lead from seven points to 11 early in the third quarter and kept Cleveland at arm’s length for almost the entire period. They led by five with two minutes to play when Kyrie re-ignited, canning two long treys and feeding Anderson Varejao for a pair of jumpers to turn that deficit into a five-point Cavaliers lead. Irving split a pair of free throws to close the third and set up a thrilling fourth-quarter finish and overtime session at The Q.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – The Wine and Gold’s two-time All-Star notched his fifth career game topping the 40-point plateau, third this season. Kyrie also led both clubs with eight assists and led the Cavaliers with three steals to go with seven boards. He was 5-of-9 from long distance and 7-for-8 from the stripe while logging almost 43 minutes in Saturday’s thriller.
By the Numbers – 55 … total points that Kyrie Irving has scored in seven overtime games this year, tops in the NBA. He’s averaging 7.9 points per game in extra sessions this season.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on Saturday’s OT loss at The Q …
”We had some open looks in the first half that I thought we just missed. Defensively at times, we played well enough to hang in there. Obviously, Kyrie got hot. He kept us in the game with his scoring. Down the stretch, we just made some simple fundamental errors that cost us the game.”
Up Next – Saturday’s loss puts the Cavaliers in a precarious position with just four games remaining in the regular season. They’ll need to win at least three of them and get a lot of help from New York and Atlanta. The Wine and Gold will welcome Detroit to The Q on Wednesday night before traveling to Milwaukee on Friday night. On Saturday, the Boston Celtics come to Cleveland and next Wednesday, the Cavaliers close out the regular season with the Brooklyn Nets on Fan Appreciation Night.
Watch Interview: Kyrie Irving