Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, right, drives past Boston Celtics’ Avery Bradley during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday in Cleveland.
CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter, including several key late baskets, to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 95-90 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
Irving scored 11 points in the final 2:33 on four layups and three free throws to give Cleveland back-to-back wins at home for the first time this season and send Boston to its season-high fourth straight loss.
Irving shot 16 for 24 — setting a career high for field goals made — and fell one point short of his career-best scoring total, set at New York on Dec. 15.
Tristan Thompson added 21 points for the Cavaliers.
Rajon Rondo led Boston with 17 points while Kevin Garnett scored 16. Paul Pierce, who scored 40 points in a 103-91 win over the Cavaliers in Boston on Dec. 19, finished with 12 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
Irving’s layup gave Cleveland an 84-83 lead with 2:33 remaining. He followed with another layup after Rajon Rondo’s turnover to put the Cavs up three. Four free throws by Garnett sandwiched around a basket by Alonzo Gee left Cleveland with an 88-87 lead.
After Garnett missed a baseline jumper, Irving dribbled past midcourt and drove to the basket for a three-point lead with 52 seconds remaining.
Following another miss by the Celtics, the Cavaliers called timeout. Irving dribbled into the lane and hit a twisting shot while being fouled by Jared Sullinger. He made the free throw to put Cleveland ahead 93-87 with 22.8 seconds left.
After Pierce shot an airball, Irving made two more free throws with 18.2 seconds left to put the game away.
The Celtics have dropped four in a row since winning six straight. Rivers blasted his team following Sunday’s 103-88 loss in Detroit, a game which Boston never led. The latest loss dropped Boston to 20-21.
“I believe we should be better than that — and we’re not — so it’s hard,” Rivers said before Tuesday’s game.
The Cavaliers acquired three players and a future first-round draft pick from Memphis earlier in the day. Cleveland picked up forward Marreese Speights and guards Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby in exchange for forward Jon Leuer. Speights will help replace Anderson Varejao, who will miss the remainder of the season after developing a blood clot in his right lung. Varejao had had surgery on Jan. 10 to repair a split leg muscle. He was expected to miss two months, but the blood clot was discovered last week and he has been placed on blood thinners.
Irving, who was 7 of 20 from the field in Saturday’s loss to Utah, had a strong start against Boston with 19 points in the first quarter, hitting 8 of 10 from the field.
Cleveland led 54-53 at halftime, but two 3-pointers by Avery Bradley and another by Jeff Green helped Boston take a 70-63 lead. The Cavaliers scored the next seven points, but Courtney Lee’s 3-pointer as the third quarter expired put the Celtics ahead 73-70.
Cavaliers starting guard C.J. Miles didn’t play because of an illness that has hit several players and a couple of assistant coaches.
Sullinger, who played at Ohio State, scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds for Boston.
The Cavaliers’ new players were expected to arrive in Cleveland on Tuesday night. They must first pass physicals and Scott hopes they will be able to practice Thursday and possibly play Friday against Milwaukee.
NOTES: Bradley, who scored seven points, continues to play with sore ribs. “I feel for Avery because that’s a hard injury to play through,” Rivers said. “It hurts to breathe and it hurts every time you get hit anywhere near your ribs.” Scott has traded text messages with Varejao, who remains hospitalized in the Cleveland Clinic. ... The Cavaliers waived G Jeremy Pargo and recalled C Kevin Jones from Canton of the Developmental League.
Pistons outmuscle Magic
in 105-90 win
AUBURN HILS, Mich. — Jason Maxiell, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for 38 points and 28 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons pulled away to beat the undersized Orlando Magic 105-90 Tuesday night.
Brandon Knight led Detroit with 18 points, while Monroe scored 16 and Drummond and Maxiell each had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pistons also finished with a 16-6 edge in offensive rebounds against the Magic, who had their size issues
magnified when Glen Davis was benched for much of the second half after taking 15 first-half shots and grabbing just three rebounds. He attempted just one shot the rest of the way and finished with 11 points.
J.J. Redick was Orlando’s biggest threat, scoring 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting — including 5 for 6 on 3-pointers. Jameer Nelson added 14 points and nine rebounds.
After an even first half, the Pistons got a tiebreaking basket after a strange play to end the second quarter.
Detroit had a foul to give, so Will Bynum grabbed Nelson 30 feet from the basket.
Nelson, trying to draw a shooting foul, flipped the ball straight up into the air. Both teams froze, expecting a whistle, but when nothing was called, Kyle Singler grabbed the loose ball and Monroe finished the half with an uncontested dunk.
That put the Pistons up 54-52 at the half despite 17 first-half points from Redick.
He hit all six of his first-half shots, including three 3-pointers and a four-point play. Maxiell had nine points and 11 rebounds in the half for Detroit.
Monroe and Drummond combined for 16 points in the third quarter, including back-to-back dunks by Drummond in the last minute of the period, as Detroit built a 82-66 lead. By the fourth quarter, even 6-foot-5 Rodney Stuckey was dunking in traffic against the lethargic Magic defense.
NOTES: Busta Rhymes provided the six-minute halftime show, but also had a technical glitch. After his first song, he dropped the microphone, which then rolled off the makeshift stage. Luckily, a quick-thinking stagehand was able to retrieve it after a few seconds. ... Nelson had to be escorted off the court by teammates after continuing to argue the no-call at the end of the half. ... After missing his first shot of the second half, Davis picked up a technical foul from the bench and ended up with three teammates and an assistant coach surrounding him to prevent an ejection. He only returned briefly when the game was out of hand.MORE IN Sports Wire
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