SAN ANTONIO » Kyrie Irving had a career-high 57 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied for a 128-125 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
Irving had the most points in the NBA this season, topping his 55-point game against Cleveland on Jan. 28. He scored nine points in the final minute of regulation to force overtime.
Irving hit a 3-pointer in the face of heavy defense from Danny Green to pull Cleveland to 110-107 with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. After the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard missed two free throws with 4.3 seconds left, Irving made another 3 — this time over Leonard — to tie it at 110.
Irving made all seven of his 3-point attempts, was 20 of 32 from the field overall, and made 10 free throws without a miss.
LeBron James added 31 points in his first game at the AT&T Center since being blown out in five games by San Antonio in the NBA Finals in his last games with the Miami Heat.
Tony Parker had 31 points for San Antonio and Leonard added 24 points.
Irving scored 11 points in overtime, including a crossover, fadeaway 3-pointer against Boris Diaw with 1:20 remaining to give Cleveland a 122-118 lead.
James was 10 for 20 from the floor in a physical battle with Leonard, but his struggles were lessened by Irving’s wild night.
Green’s 3-pointer gave San Antonio a 104-95 lead, prompting a timeout by Cleveland and a technical on James for arguing a non-call on his earlier miss.
It was part of an emotional night for James,
James and Leonard had a physical battle on both ends of the court, with King James nodding his head and Leonard staring at him defiantly after the two exchanged a series of elbows to the chest and pushes away from the ball early in the second quarter.
Leonard later bulled his way by James to the rim, up faked and then made a floating jumper over the Cavaliers forward. James attempted to score on Leonard on the ensuing possession, but his shot near the top of the key failed to hit the rim and fell out of bounds to the delight of the raucous sellout crowd. James and Leonard were later whistled for a double foul early in the third quarter after exchanging a series of elbows and pushes.
Cavaliers: F Shawn Marion (left hip strain) did not play but was working out at full speed about 10 minutes before the game. … The Cavaliers are 18-16 on the road. … Cleveland was 12-1 in its previous 13 games against Western Conference teams, outscoring those opponents by 11.2 points. … The Cavs are 34-5 when scoring at least 100 points. … Tristan Thompson had four offensive rebounds in becoming the ninth player in team history with 1,000 career offensive rebounds.
Spurs: G Manu Ginobili played even though he is still battling gastroenteritis that kept him out of San Antonio’s previous game. Ginobili told the team he was OK to play after participating in warmups prior to the game. He finished with no points and just one field goal attempt in 10 minutes, … The Spurs are 24-8 at home this season … Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have 718 career wins, leaving them within 11 of tying Boston’s Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish for the most victories by a trio of teammates.
Cavaliers: Visit Orlando on Sunday.
Spurs: Host Minnesota on Sunday.