CLEVELAND – In what felt like an NBA Finals Game 7, Kyrie Irving put on a long-range display for the ages in helping the (27-20) Cleveland Cavaliers win their eight straight over the (32-15) Portland Trail Blazers, 99-94.
With LeBron James watching from the sidelines due to a sore wrist, the 2014 All-Star Game MVP single-handily made his case for another appearance as a reserve, and after scoring 93 points in back-to-back games, Irving may have made his voice heard loud and clear.
After starting out 0-for-7 from the field, the fourth-year point guard out of Duke buried a three-pointer with 6.4 seconds left over Nicolas Batum to help Cleveland score its biggest win—and second sans-LeBron, as they were 1-8 without James.
In setting a new career high in points (55) and tied franchise records in three-pointers made in a single game (11) and attempted (19). Irving’s 55 points mark his sixth career game of 40-plus points and second-highest ever in Cavaliers history, after James’ 56-point effort against the Toronto Raptors in March ’05.
In scoring 28 points in the first half, Irving outdueled fellow All-Stars in Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge—who played with a sprained thumb ligament—and point guard Damian Lilliard. For the game, Aldridge still proved to be a handful in scoring 38 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Lilliard had a rare off-night in scoring 14 points on 4-of-19 shooting from the field.
Kevin Love added 10 points and 12 rebounds, J.R. Smith pitched in with 11 points and Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and 10 rebounds.