LeBron James scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers survived a second-half charge to beat the injury-ravaged Washington Wizards 121-115 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter of just his seventh game of the season, including a run of 10 straight that put the game away.
James had 10 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 25 points for Cleveland.
Garrett Temple led the Wizards with 21 points, and John Wall had 20. Playing without Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and Drew Gooden, Washington lost its second straight game.
While LeBron James had 34 points, Irving scored 10 points in a row in the fourth quarter and showed no ill effects from the injury that ended his 2015 playoffs and postponed his season debut until mid-December.
Irving had a 25-point game Monday night at home against Toronto, and it looks as if he’s in midseason form.
“It’s only reasonable to expect that he’s going to go through a process and still have days when he’s better and days when he’s going to have some effect of the many months that he was out,” Blatt said. “But it sure didn’t look like that tonight.”
Irving turned the ball over to Nene early in the fourth quarter, which led to a layup by Ramon Sessions that tied it. Irving then reeled off 10 consecutive points while the Cavaliers’ defense got some timely stops.
The show Irving put on in the fourth quarter certainly caught the attention of his teammates, who see how much he’s improving in the weeks since he returned.
“It was nuts,” said guard J.R. Smith, who hit five 3-pointers and had 25 points. “To do what he’s doing nine or 10 months to get back and still be able to come out there and shake and bake like he’s doing it’s remarkable.”
The Cavs needed a few big performances as the Wizards had one of their best offensive performances of the season.