CLEVELAND -- Forward Tristan Thompson scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 98-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavaliers (6-12) won back-to-back games for the first time this season, and they snapped the Nuggets' seven-game winning streak.
Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 23 points and added four assists. Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao was outstanding off the bench, contributing 18 points and 13 rebounds, both season highs.
The Nuggets (11-7) had four players post double-figure point totals, led by guard Randy Foye, who scored 16 points. Former Cavaliers forward/center J.J. Hickson added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cavaliers hammered Denver on the boards, 58-43. The Nuggets came into the game one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA.
Guard Nate Robinson added 14 points off the bench for the Nuggets, while forward Wilson Chandler added 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Cavaliers held on for a 79-73 advantage through three quarters.
Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum scored eight of his 14 points and pulled down four of his seven rebounds in the third. He converted just six of 15 shots from the field overall.
Irving had 12 points in the second quarter, giving him 17 at the half. The Cavaliers allowed a late flurry by the Nuggets that cut Cleveland's lead to 56-52 at the intermission.
Thompson has 11 points and 13 rebounds at halftime.
NOTES: Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said he interviewed for 12 head-coaching jobs in the NBA before he was hired by Denver. He interviewed with the Cavaliers in the summer of 2010 just after they fired Mike Brown. At one point during the process, Jerome Stanley, Shaw's agent, tweeted that his client received the job -- a fact that was disputed by the team. The Cavaliers instead hired Byron Scott, who compiled a 64-166 record, their worst record ever during a three-year span. ... Brown, in his second stint as Cleveland's coach, said he wants to keep C Andrew Bynum's minutes around 25-28 per game. Bynum played a season-high 30 against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. ... Cavaliers G Dion Waiters recorded three consecutive 20-point performances off the bench heading into Wednesday's game. Only one other NBA player accomplished that this year: Suns F Markieff Morris from Nov. 6-10. ... Brown said he expects Nuggets F/C J.J. Hickson to behave himself. "I'm sure if he gets out of line, his grandma will come and grab him by the ear," the coach joked.