RECAP: Clippers fall to Cavs, 121-126
Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, LeBron James added 32 and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off the Los Angeles Clippers 126-121 on Friday night.
Tristan Thompson had a season-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds starting in place of Kevin Love, who sat out after hurting his back in Thursday’s win over the Lakers.
Blake Griffin had 34 points and 19 rebounds to lead six players in double figures for the Clippers, who had won six of their previous eight. DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Matt Barnes added 17 points and Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists.
James tied the game at 97-all early in the fourth on a 3-pointer over Austin Rivers, who became the first player in NBA history to play for his father after being signed by the Clippers.
Jamal Crawford’s three-point play gave the Clippers their last lead of the game, 100-97.
James and Irving teamed to power the Cavs on a 20-7 run that put them back in front, 117-107. James had nine points and Irving seven as they bookended the spurt with 3-pointers; James slapped his chest after hitting his.
The Clippers ran off six in a row, with Griffin scoring over James in one of their fourth-quarter battles, to cut the deficit to 117-113.
Irving hit a jumper in the right corner and Shawn Marion scored inside, but the basket was overturned after a video review showed the 24-second clock had expired, leaving the Cavs ahead by six.
Paul’s jumper again got the Clippers within four before Thompson’s three-point play extended the Cavs’ lead to 122-115 with 46 seconds to go.
Mike Miller turned the ball over and Paul scored inside to leave the Clippers down two with 9 seconds left after they had trailed by seven with 40 seconds left. But the Cavs hit 3 of 4 free throws, including one by James, to preserve the win.
Irving scored five of Cleveland’s first 11 points of the third, giving the Cavs a 72-71 lead on his 3-pointer.
The Clippers responded with a 22-10 run to go up 91-82. Jordan scored seven points, making six trips to the line, where he was just 5 of 12. Paul fed Griffin on a dunk for his 6,500th career assist before the Cavs used a 10-4 spurt to trail 95-92 going into the fourth.
The Cavs shot 58 percent in the first half, when they trailed 64-61. James had nine of his 13 in the second quarter, when they led by seven. The Clippers erased that deficit, helped by J.J. Redick’s back-to-back 3-pointers, another 3 by Spencer Hawes and Griffin’s three-point play.
Cavaliers: Love was ruled out after warmups. "He played through a lot of pain last night and some pretty serious stiffness," coach David Blatt said. … They went 2-3 on their West Coast swing. … The Cavs have won six of their last eight against the Clippers at Staples Center.
Clippers: Paul became the second-fastest to reach 6,500 assists after John Stockton in 1985-86. … Redick had 14 points, including four 3-pointers. … They waived G Jordan Farmar to make room on the roster for Austin Rivers. Farmar averaged 4.6 points, 1.9 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 36 games as the backup to Paul. … Jay-Z and Beyonce, and Floyd Mayweather attended the game.
Cavaliers: Host Chicago on Monday.
Clippers: At Sacramento on Saturday.