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Kyrie Irving scores career-high 41 points, but Knicks hang on to beat Cavs

Dec 15, 2012, 11:08 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers' Irving brings the ball up court against New York Knicks during their NBA basketball game in New York

Carmelo Anthony sat out Saturday night’s game against the Cavaliers due to a sprained ankle he suffered in Thursday’s win over the Lakers. Without him, the Eastern Conference leading Knicks almost ended up with a loss to a Cavaliers team that now has a record of just five wins against 20 losses on the season.

New York held on for a 103-102 home victory, but Kyrie Irving was the sole reason the game was that close.

Irving poured in a carer-high 41 points, on 15-of-25 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 from three-point distance. He also finished with five rebounds and five assists, in under 40 minutes of action. He did all of this with a mask on his face, looking like some sort of superhero out there while needing it to protect a broken bone in his jaw that was suffered while playing Friday night against the Bucks.

This Cavaliers team isn’t quite as bad as their record would indicate, at least in terms of the effort they bring on a nightly basis. And with Irving there and able to come through with superstar performances like these, the team will be involved in more games like these than it is not.

The Knicks had this one in hand, leading by 10 with under six minutes to play. That’s when Irving truly took control, scoring all 17 of his fourth-quarter points in the game’s final 5:30 to bring his team back and give them a chance to win it at the very end.

Irving hit two threes on consecutive possessions with under 30 seconds left to cut into a six-point gap, and turn the game into a foul-shooting contest over the final few possessions.

With nine seconds remaining, Steve Novak missed his second of two free throw attempts, and the New York lead was down to two with the Cavaliers bringing the ball up the floor.

Irving was double-teamed out top behind the three-point arc, but found a cutting Anderson Varejao, who was fouled by J.R. Smith with just a second remaining.

Varejao made the first free throw, but the second one was in and out, and the Knicks escaped, despite Irving’s spectacular performance.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 15, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Our perimeter defense won’t be good until Shump gets back. Hasn’t killed us yet, but the interior defense and rebounding is making me nervous.

  2. badintent - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Irving is a warrior, but Knicks should have handle this team better at home. But wins in December are still the same as wins in March Chandler is playing even better than last year, amazing.Will Irving do the DECISION II IN 2015 ?

  3. jimmygrahamchrisivory - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Wow. As good as Varejao has been all season long, watching him choke on the last FT was tough to swallow after witnessing Kyrie single-handedly put the cavs back in the game after it seemed like the game was out of reach during the last few minutes . One of the best games yet by him in his young career

    clevelands future looks bright as long as hes healthy, as well as their FO managing to not have him follow lebron’s steps in FA. They need to continue to put decent pieces around him asap

    • tomtravis76 - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      The reality is that he will stay and get paid after that first deal, he will help the Cavs to the playoffs, he will bring some great moments for Cavs fans, but he will not finish his career with the Cavs not even his prime years will be in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving is not all of a sudden going to be the guy who leads the Cavs to a title. Star players will not go to Cleveland unless traded there. Iam sure many Cavs fans think K Love would be a great fit with Kyrie, and he might be but Love is already doing time in the small market, no chance, he is a big market player. Enjoy him while he is there.

  4. ningenito78 - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Kyrie is going to be a S-T-U-D.

  5. yousuxxors - Dec 16, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    What do you mean gonna … He already is a stud

  6. doctorfootball - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    No Melo, Rasheed Wallace, Camby, Shumpert or Amar’e. Knicks still won. Pretty deep team.

  7. cantonbound13 - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Kyrie is awesome. When is he a free agent? Would love to see him in a Knick uniform.

  8. 13arod - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    that is why cameralo should have plated through the injury be a man

    • bigmeechy74 - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      Cameralo? Plated? WHAT????

  9. mojosmagic - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Who designs these masks Hannibal Lecter?

  10. eflem80 - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    He’ll be a Knick in 2015…..

  11. chief0727 - Dec 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    For all you Knick fans who think Kyrie will be a Knick in 2015—you said the same thing about LeBron–how’d that work out for you ??

    • cantonbound13 - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      LeBron couldn’t take the pressure of playing in NY.

  12. bigmeechy74 - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Holy cow. This guy is already one of the top 5 players in the league and he still is young enough to play in college! Jeez man the Cavs struck gold with this guy. What a perfect rebuilding piece! That’s the good news…. Now I’m wondering what they are doing with all those other picks they had. Tristan Thompson? Zeller? Waiters? Jeez with proper drafts they could have built a young powerhouse team but I hope this isn’t a repeat of Lebron. One superstar surrounded by a bunch of mediocrity. (besides varejao)

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