Irving sparks Cleveland rally past 76ers
PHILADELPHIA — The Cavaliers have so many ways to beat teams, and this time it was Kyrie Irving’s turn to win a game.
Irving scored 19 of his season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter and LeBron James had a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists, leading Cleveland to a 112-108 comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
Kevin Love chipped in 25 points and 11 rebounds to help the defending champions (13-2) improve to their fourth straight win.
“When you have great players, it can come from any of us at any given moment,” Irving said. “When one of us gets it going, we always continue to go to that person. It can be anybody’s night. We’re always trusting each other. That fourth quarter was just for me to be aggressive.”
Joel Embiid led seven players in double figures with 22 points for the 76ers, who have lost three straight. Embiid also had nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
“When those guys are on like that, it’s really hard to beat them,” Embiid said.
The Cavaliers never led through the first three quarters, but Irving got hot early in the fourth to put Cleveland in front. He gave Cleveland its first lead on a layup 2:38 into the period and had 10 of the first 13 Cavaliers fourth-quarter points on a variety of jumpers and drives. His layup with 7:51 left gave Cleveland its biggest lead to that point, 90-86.
Asked what he liked about Irving’s fourth quarter, James said, “Could you not like everything?”
“Whoever has the hot hand, we want to continue to get it to him,” James said. “Kyrie understands what needs to be done in order for us to win. He showcased that today.”
Cleveland trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half. The Cavaliers got as close as 72-70 on James Jones’ 3-pointer with 3:53 left in the third quarter. But the 76ers scored nine of the next 10 points, capped by Dario Saric’s 3-pointer that made it 81-71. James had four and Love two as the Cavaliers ran off the final six points of the quarter to enter the final period down 81-77.
Love was limited to 28 minutes after receiving five stitches for a cut over his right eye suffered early in the first quarter.
The Cavs missed their first 14 shots, but Philadelphia couldn’t take full advantage and led just 10-2 before James’ driving layup with 6:50 left in the first quarter resulted in Cleveland’s first field goal.