Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/17/13
PORTLAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 31 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a late Portland Trail Blazers rally to win 93-88 Wednesday night at the Rose Garden. Irving scored eight straight points down the stretch as the Cavaliers (10-31) won after losing their first three games on this five-game road trip. Tristan Thompson added 19 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland. Nicolas Batum led five starters in double figures with 23 points for Portland (20-19), which lost its fourth consecutive game. Batum had 12 rebounds but also nine turnovers. Down by 17 at halftime, Portland charged back quickly with a 10-2 run capped by J.J. Hickson's fast-break dunk and three-point play to cut Cleveland's edge to 55-46. Soon it was 60-53, but the Cavaliers regrouped and took a 74-65 advantage into the fourth quarter. Cleveland then went more than six minutes without a field goal. A 3-pointer from the top of the arc by Portland's Damian Lillard tied the count at 75-75 with six minutes to play. Irving's driving layup at the other end 20 seconds later was Cleveland's first basket of the quarter, and Thompson's follow shot made it 79-75 with 4:40 left. Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer from the corner cut Cleveland's lead to 81-80 with 3:42 to go, but Irving's twisting drive pushed the margin to 83-80 with 3:21 remaining. A Batum tip-in cut the Cavaliers' lead to 83-82 with 2:25 left, and Lillard's fadeaway 18-footer pushed the Blazers in front 86-85 with 2:07 to play -- their first lead since the game's early moments. Irving's 20-footer put Cleveland back on top 87-86 with 1:50 left. Thompson missed a pair of foul shots with 1:10 to go, but the Blazers turned it over at the other end. Irving came back with a falling bank shot from 10 feet, and the Cavaliers were ahead 89-86 with 26.5 seconds on the clock. LaMarcus Aldridge's short jumper made it 89-88 with 22.4 seconds left, but Irving's two free throws gave Cleveland a 91-88 lead with 19.7 seconds to go. Hickson was fouled but missed two foul shots with 14.9 seconds remaining, and when Cleveland's Tyler Zeller converted a pair at the other end, it was over. Cleveland had its way through the first half, leading by as many as 19 points before going into intermission ahead 53-36. Irving scored all of his 15 first-half points in the first quarter. Portland shot only 34.3 percent from the field and was hammered in points in the paint 28-6 in the half. NOTES: Lillard missed his first five shots, finally getting a field goal on a driving layup with 10:36 left in the game. ... Batum had a good start toward a dubious triple-double at the break -- 17 points, five rebounds and seven of the Blazers' 12 turnovers. ... Four Portland starters played 43 or more minutes in the Blazers' overtime loss at Denver Tuesday night. ... Wednesday's game was the first on a five-game homestand for Portland. ... Scott said the Cavaliers miss forward Anderson Varejao, out at least another six weeks following knee surgery. "We know we can count on him for a lot of rebounds a game, plus it allows you to put him on a great player like (Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge)," Scott said. "On both ends of the floor, not having Andy really hurts us."
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