The Cleveland Cavaliers, who were playing without injured superstar LeBron James, beat Portland 99-94 to extend their win streak to eight games behind an electric performance from Kyrie Irving.
Irving tallied a career-high 55 points which included a team-record 11 three pointers in front of a crowd of 20,500 at the Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday. His final dagger from beyond the arc came with just six seconds left and gave the Cavaliers the lead for good.
“He delivered,” said Cavaliers coach David Blatt. “I’ve seen a lot of great performances, but something quite like that? No.
“I’ve never seen that. And I’ve been coaching a long time.”
With James out because of a sprained right wrist that could keep him sidelined for at least one more NBA contest, Irving missed his first seven field goal attempts but went 17-of-29 after that.
He scored 28 points in the first half and had 16 in the fourth quarter to keep the Cavs from blowing a game they led by as much as 14 points.
LaMarcus Aldridge paced the Trail Blazers attack with 38 points, including a pair of free throws that tied the score with 27 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Irving drained his final shot from the left side over Nicolas Batum to give Cleveland the lead and break CJ Miles’ franchise record for three pointers in a game.
Irving grabbed the rebound after Damian Lillard was short on a three from the right corner at the other end and made two foul shots for the last of his 55 points.
His 55 points bettered his previous career high of 44 points which he posted in an overtime loss to Charlotte last season.
It was also just one short of James’ franchise record set in a game against the Toronto Raptors in 2005.
Portland had an extra day off after Monday’s scheduled game in Brooklyn was postponed because of a snow storm that hammered parts of the US eastern seaboard. – Agence France-Presse