Mavs lose tough battle against LeBron, Cavs in OT
DALLAS (AP) -- Kyrie Irving was headed toward Cleveland's locker room when he was greeted exuberantly by general manager David Griffin.
"You might stick in this league," Griffin told the fourth-year player from Duke.
Irving scored 22 points with some big 3-pointers, including one in overtime after LeBron James made the go-ahead layup, and the Cavaliers extended their winning streak to eight games with a 110-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
James had 27 points, including a layup with a minute left in overtime that pushed the Cavs ahead 106-105. After an attempted 3 by Deron Williams rattled out for Dallas, Irving beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer from the top of the key after James passed up a shot and got the ball to Irving instead.
"It's just the confidence I have in him and he has the confidence in his self," James said.
It was only the 10th game for Irving this season after recovering from a broken left kneecap sustained in Game 1 of the NBA Finals last June.
Cleveland, which trailed by 16 points in the first quarter, never led until Irving made a 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in regulation to make it 75-74. That was the first of nine lead changes over a span of less than 4 minutes that Irving capped with another 3 to put the Cavs up 85-83.
"That's not the team that we want to be (in the first half), but we were still in the game," Irving said. "Talent kept us around for that long, but we locked in in the second half and matched up really well when they went small ball. For us, it's just a luxury having that ability."
Chandler Parsons led Dallas with a season-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
The game was tied at 95 after James made a drive through the Mavs for an emphatic two-handed slam with 20 seconds left in regulation, though he didn't get the foul he wanted.
Dallas then had the ball in Dirk Nowitzki's hands for a possible final shot to win in regulation, but Iman Shumpert stripped the ball free and the Cavs had less than a second after a timeout.
"It's not surprising. We know Shump's got the best hands in the business. We keep saying that," James said. "He got two big strips late in the game, one in regulation and one in overtime when we needed a stop. That's why he's on the floor."
Shumpert had another similar play late in overtime, getting the ball away from Williams, who finished with 16 points and 10 assists.
James also had 10 rebounds, while Kevin Love finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 5 of 19.
Nowitzki had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Zaza Pachulia had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Dallas scored the game's first 10 points and went out to a 23-7 lead before Cleveland had a 15-0 run. But the Cavs never went ahead until the fourth quarter.
"We knew we weren't going to blow them out. We knew that the lead at some point was going to get chipped away," Mavs guard Wesley Matthews said. "But this was our game. We should have won it and we didn't."
Cleveland was the first of three division leaders the Mavericks play in four games over a six-day period -- and the next three games are on the road. Dallas plays Northwest Division leader Oklahoma City, Chicago (second in the Central behind Cleveland) and then Southwest leader San Antonio. "An extremely difficult schedule, there's no doubt about that," Carlisle said. "This is kind of stretch challenges a group."
The Cavs are four games into their season-high, six-game road trip, with San Antonio and Houston left. When they get home, they play Golden State in a matchup of the current conference leaders.
Guard Mo Williams was excused from the game to end to a personal matter. It was the fifth game in a row missed by Williams, though coach David Blatt said Williams' absence wasn't basketball-related.
Cavaliers: Cleveland had season highs in field goal attempts (97) and 3-pointers attempted (44). They made 40 shots overall (41 percent) and 17 3-pointers (39 percent). ... The Cavs had only nine turnovers in 53 minutes. They averaged only 11 the previous six games.
Mavericks: Pachulia had his 20th double-double this season, and the 100th in his career. ... Nowitzki became the 14th NBA player to reach 46,000 career minutes. He needed 11 going into the game, and played 38.
Cavaliers: at San Antonio on Thursday night.
Mavericks: at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
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