OKLAHOMA CITY — Guard Kyrie Irving posted 31 points and nine assists to lead Cleveland to a 114-104 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The loss was the third straight at home for the Thunder (43-15), all since guard Russell Westbrook returned to the lineup. They had not lost that many in a row at home since 2009, their first year in Oklahoma City.
After another 3-pointer by Irving and a tough layup in traffic by center Spencer Hawes, the Cavs (23-26) led 103-97 with 3:05 left.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant responded with a jumper before Hawes answered with a mini-hook shoot. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka missed an easy layup at the rim that would have cut the deficit to four.
Instead, Irving came down and completed a three-point play to give Cleveland a seven-point advantage with 1:26 left.
After Westbrook missed a shot, Cavs guard Jarrett Jack put the contest away with a jump shot over Ibaka to push the lead to 11 with less than a minute left.
Jack scored 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Hawes added 19 points and seven rebounds. Forward Tristan Thompson had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Durant paced the Thunder with 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Westbrook chipped in with 24 points and nine assists. Ibaka had a solid night with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Despite the recent rumors of him leaving Cleveland, Irving showed no signs that he’s letting the talk get to him. He started the night attacking the Thunder with his dribble and his shot. That included breaking down guard Thabo Sefolosha for a layup in the first period.
“He’s a great player,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It seems like he has the ball on a string. His layup game is one of the best in basketball and his 3-point shooting is really good. You have to make sure you don’t give him any easy shots.”
Cleveland held a four-point lead with less than a minute to go in the first half. But consecutive buckets by Durant and Westbrook put the Thunder up 52-51 heading into halftime. That included Westbrook draining a 3-pointer in Irving’s face before the buzzer sounded.
NOTES: Oklahoma City C Kendrick Perkins will miss at least six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a strained left groin. He sustained the injury early in the third quarter of last week’s loss to Miami. Rookie C Steven Adams will start in his place. … When Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was told the Cleveland Cavaliers would be retiring the number of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, he had some reflections on his former teammate and roommate. That included the rumor that he taught Ilgauskas how to drive. “We’d been in a few minor fender benders in my year with him,” Brooks said. “I would take over the driving. Zydrunas was one of the best teammates I ever had. Just a great teammate and great for the city. It was an experience.”
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