Monday, January 22, 2018
Sports

Irving shines in holiday thriller

CLEVELAND — With another clutch shot, Kyrie Irving took the Warriors on a trip down memory lane.

Irving dropped a short, turnaround jumper over Klay Thompson with 3.4 seconds left as the Cavaliers rallied just the way they did in June's NBA Finals to defeat Golden State 109-108 Sunday in a marquee Christmas matchup.

"Those shots, whether they go in or not, you still got to live with it," Irving said. "But I was in the game today and just living moment to moment with my teammates and that's what it's all about.''

Down by 14 early in the fourth quarter, the Cavs chipped away and then put the ball in the hands of Irving, whose step-back 3 over Stephen Curry on June 19 helped seal Game 7 and gave Cleveland its first major pro sports title since 1964.

This time, Irving went deep in the lane before spinning and making his shot over Thompson.

"The kid is special," LeBron James said of his teammate. "It was never in doubt."

Golden State had one last chance, but Kevin Durant, who led all scorers with 36, lost his balance coming off a screen and couldn't get off a shot as time expired.

Durant felt he was fouled by Cavaliers swingman Richard Jefferson, who appeared on replays to step on Durant's foot, causing the fall. "I fell," Durant said, "and I didn't fall on my own."

There was some anger toward the officiating, but the Warriors' frustration mostly stemmed from their self-inflicted collapse.

"We're mad, man," Thompson said. "The way we lost that game, we gave them a gift."

James scored 31 and had a season-high 13 rebounds, Irving added 25 points and Kevin Love 20 for the Cavs. Thompson added 24, Draymond Green 16 and Curry 15 for the Warriors.

Jefferson was assessed a technical foul for taunting after he smiled and winked at Durant in the fourth quarter. Referee Sean Corbin charged Jefferson with the foul. It was Jefferson's third technical in the past two games after he was ejected against the Nets on Friday and threw his jersey into the stands.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Russell Westbrook scored 31 and had 15 assists as the Thunder beat the visiting Timberwolves 112-100. Westbrook fell short of becoming the first Thunder player to score at least 40 in four straight games. … Isaiah Thomas scored 27, Marcus Smart made a tiebreaking 3 with 47 seconds left and the Celtics beat the host Knicks 119-114. Carmelo Anthony scored 29 and Derrick Rose had 25 for New York, which fell to 22-29 in its NBA-record 51 Christmas appearances. "You don't want to lose at all but to lose today, it was a tough loss," Anthony said.… LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 33 and the host Spurs held on to beat the Bulls 119-100. Dwyane Wade led the Bulls with 24 points.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Bulls guard Michael Carter-Williams said he expects to play today against the Pacers after missing the past two months because of left knee and left wrist injuries.

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