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Cavaliers' Irving takes over game in defeat of Hornets

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The New Orleans Hornets didn't have an answer for Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

The All-Star scored 20 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth to spark the Cavs' 105-100 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday before a national-television audience.

"Kyrie was making shots everywhere," Cavs coach Byron Scott said.

He re-entered the game with 7 minutes, 8 seconds remaining, and immediately took over the game.

Irving, fresh off his win in the Three-Point Contest on All-Star weekend, converted on 6-of-9 shots in the fourth quarter.

"You can kind of see it coming," Scott said. "He gets a little bit of a gleam in his eye. He hits one or two and he kind of gets going. You could see in the fourth quarter he was just really aggressive.

"I thought he did a great job of getting himself some space, getting to the basket, finishing, making shots. He just kind of put us on his back."

For the game, he made 13 of 22 from the field, 2 of 5 from behind the arc. He added five rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

"It came strictly from the trust my teammates have in me that I'll make plays," Irving said. "The fourth quarter is winning time. Some shots went in for me."

He mentioned before the game he was still a bit sluggish after his whirlwind of a weekend in Houston. He sure didn't appear to be dragging.

"I felt good," he said. "I felt amazing."

The Cavs (17-37) committed just eight turnovers in the game, none in the fourth quarter.

Irving recorded his 11th 30-point game of the season.

Rookie guard Dion Waiters fired in 16 points and dished out three assists, while swingman C.J. Miles had 11 points off the bench.

The Cavs, who also snapped a three-game losing streak, shot 49.4 percent from the field. The Hornets shot 48.7 percent.

For the Hornets (19-36), Toledo, Ohio, native Brian Roberts matched his career high with 17 points. Center Robin Lopez had 15 points before fouling out with 3:21 left in the game. Point guard Greivis Vasquez added 13 points and a game-high eight assists.

"(Irving) had a really good game," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "I think for the most part, we gave in by allowing him to go to the basket. You've got to take a hard foul and make him shoot free throws."

Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu said once players like Irving get in a rhythm, he's hard to stop.

"We should have kept him in front of us," Aminu said. "We were all like a step behind on defensive rotations."

Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson finished with nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds. He was 2 of 8 from the field, 5 of 12 from the foul line.

Scott wasn't thrilled with the way Thompson played. He seemed more intent of taking it to Hornets rookie forward Anthony Davis than he was playing within of the offense.

"He tried to force it," he said. "He got away from being Tristan."

Alonzo Gee and Tyler Zeller each had 10 points for the Cavs.

Scott said he brought the 6-foot-3, 191-pound Irving into the game a little early.

"It was still nip-and-tuck at that point," he said.

The Cavs shot just three free throws in the first half. However, they attempted 31 in the second half.

The Hornets outrebounded the Cavs, 39-34. They've now lost two in a row since the All-Star break.

NOTES: Many wonder if Cavaliers center Marreese Speights will still be with the team past Thursday's trade deadline. He has a player's option on his 2013-14 contract and could become a free agent. That's why the Cavs might entertain thoughts of trading him. "It's out of my control," Speights said. "It's up to the front office." The 25-year-old Speights said he wouldn't mind staying with the Cavs. "I love Cleveland," he said. "I love these fans. I love playing with these kids, these players. Whatever happens Thursday is out of my control." ... The Cavs have several expiring contracts that could come in play, including Luke Walton, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi and Shaun Livingston. ... Williams is trying to stress fundamentals and discipline in Davis' game. The No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft certainly has some flash to his game. "You remember thrilling and home runs," Williams said. "I'm trying to push solid. I'm more concerned with him setting solid screens or making sure he's in the right spot on the weak side. We're stressing solid, singles over home runs." Part of the problem for younger players are the highlights on ESPN. Then they watch what transpired in Houston last weekend. "They watch All-Star weekend with a bunch of nonsense, and they you try to get these guys back to playing winning basketball instead of the oohs and aahs," Williams said. ... Scott said he would attend Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss' funeral on Thursday in Los Angeles. Buss died of cancer on Monday at age 80. Scott said he'd take a red-eye flight back to Cleveland and be there for practice Friday. Lead assistant Paul Pressey will run Thursday's practice. ... Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said Davis has taken ownership of his world-famous unibrow. "I thought he was going to shave it once he came to the league, but he's kept it," Irving said. "He's trademarked it, as well. The unibrow is his." ... Hornets guard Eric Gordon was held out of Wednesday's game. Because of his knees, he doesn't played in back-to-back games. Rookie Austin Rivers started at shooting guard.
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