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Cavaliers 126, Clippers 121

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LOS ANGELES — Point guard Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and forward LeBron James added 32 points and 11 rebounds, boosting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 126-121 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night at Staples Center.

Forward Kevin Love, who hobbled through Thursday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, did not play because of back spasms. Tristan Thompson, though, replaced him in a big way, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds as Cleveland (20-20) won its second in a row after ending a six-game losing streak against the Lakers.

Forward Blake Griffin had 34 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who lost their second in three games. Center DeAndre Jordan scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, forward Matt Barnes produced 17 points, and point guard Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists.

Guard Jamal Crawford hit two free throws to pull Los Angeles within 117-113 with 2:49 left. However, a jumper by Irving at 1:54 pushed the lead to six.

Paul connected on a jumper with 57.9 seconds remaining, cutting the deficit to four again, but a three-point play by Thompson with 46.4 seconds put Cleveland up 122-115.

Griffin’s layup sliced the margin to 123-119 with 14.6 seconds left, then a basket by Paul drew Los Angeles to 123-121. Two free throws by guard Matt Dellavedova with nine seconds clinched the victory for the Cavaliers.

There were 11 lead changes and six ties in the first half before Los Angeles took a 64-61 lead at the break. The Clippers converted nine of 18 (50 percent) on 3-pointers to four of 11 (36.4 percent) for the Cavaliers. Cleveland, though, shot 58.1 percent (25 of 43) overall to 49 percent (25 of 51) for the Clippers.

Newly-acquired point guard Austin Rivers made his Clippers’ debut and NBA history when he entered the game late in the first quarter. Rivers became the first player to play for his father, Clippers coach Doc Rivers. He played 12 scoreless minutes, missing all four of his field-goal attempts.

NOTES: Clippers PG Austin Rivers said his mom Kris was a “wreck” when he spoke with her about playing for her husband and his dad, Doc. “She was calling me and saying ‘What if this happens or what about that,'” Austin Rivers said. “I just said ‘Mom, it’s not on anybody but me and him.’ At the end of the day, my job is to play and compete, and that’s it. I know my role here. I know Chris (Paul) and Blake (Griffin) are the leaders here.” … Cavaliers G Iman Shumpert, who has yet to play since being obtained from the New York Knicks on Jan. 5 because of a dislocated left shoulder, is expected to begin practicing next week. … Cleveland hosts the Chicago Bulls on Monday. … Los Angeles visits the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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