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Wrap-Up – The Wine and Gold have had their difficulties this season, but navigating the overtime period hasn’t been one of them. On Sunday night, the Cavaliers improved to 5-2 in OT on the year, weathering a late Memphis run, forcing an extra-session and outscoring the Grizzlies, 13-5, in the fifth quarter to win their second straight, 91-83, at The Q.
Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 28 points, going 9-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from long-distance, adding six assists, five boards, a steal and a blocked shot. Dion Waiters came off the bench to add 18 points – two of which he absolutely crushed home, splitting the Memphis defense to put Cleveland up six with 41 seconds remaining in overtime. CJ Miles was the only other Cavalier to notch double-figures, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well on Sunday, both finishing under 40 percent from the floor. But the Wine and Gold managed to outscore one of the league’s most intimidating interior teams in the paint – 42-32.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers looked to be cruising towards their second straight win – leading by nine, 74-65, midway through the fourth quarter. But behind reserve James Johnson, Memphis went on a 13-0 lead that put the Grizzlies ahead, 78-74, with 2:16 remaining. But the Cavaliers continued to fight and Kyrie’s 12-footer got Cleveland back to within a bucket. Irving’s fastbreak layup with 16.7 remaining in regulation tied the game and Cleveland clamped down on Zach Randolph on Memphis’ last possession causing a turnover that sent the game to overtime.
Game Ball – Anderson Varejao – Although he scored just four points in Sunday’s win, Anderson Varejao came up huge against Memphis’ twin towers, holding Marc Gasol to 3-for-11 shooting and switching off to check Zach Randolph on the Grizzlies’ final possession in regulation. On the evening, the Wild Thing finished with a game-high 14 boards to go with five assists and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – 14-3 … Cavaliers’ record against the Grizzlies at The Q, including 8-1 over their last nine meetings with Memphis in Cleveland.
Quotable – Kyrie Irving, on the team’s new outlook over the last two games …
”Going out there for the last two games, it’s just been fun. Whether the game is tight or it gets away from you, competing should be fun. I feel like everybody is saying the same message and is going out there and playing for one another.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers have just two more games remaining until the All-Star Break, beginning with an opportunity for revenge and redemption against the Kings – who hung a 44-point loss on Cleveland in Sacramento and roll into The Q on Tuesday night. The Wine and Gold close out the season’s unofficial first half on Wednesday night, when they travel to Motown for a Central Division matchup with the Pistons. After All-Star Weekend, the Cavaliers get back to work on Tuesday, February 18 when they travel to Philly to face the Sixers.
Watch Highlights: Cavs 91, Grizzlies 83