Cavs' Irving hits winner on third try

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The third time was a charm for Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.
The All-Star was given three chances to win the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. He failed to make potential winners at the end of regulation and the first overtime.
He wasn't about to be denied a third time. Irving's driving layup with 0.6 of a second left in the second overtime was the difference in the Cavs' heart-stopping 127-125 victory before 20,562 at Quicken Loans Arena.
"Thirty-three percent's not bad," Irving joked. "I'll take that any day."
The All-Star led all scorers with a season-high 39 points and had five rebounds. He also matched his career high with 12 assists. His heroics helped the Cavs (3-4) snap a two-game losing streak.
"What a game," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "He's a spectacular player.
"When you have a guy like Kyrie, you're going to have plenty of opportunities to win."
Brown, though, said he was shocked it took three tries before Irving got it right.
"Each time I thought he took the right shot," he said. "I applaud him to try to close the game the right way. When the game was on the line, we put the ball in his hands to go get it for us."
Irving's layup helped the Cavs outscore the 76ers 11-9 in the second overtime. He said he split a double team near the foul line and "the middle of the floor was wide open."
Irving converted 15 of 33 shots from the field, including 5 of 12 from behind the arc. It was his sixth winning shot of his short career.
"Kyrie is just incredibly elusive and skilled," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "We tried to bring our bigs out to corral him and try and double-(team), but you really can't corral him and keep in front of him.
"He is such an unusual player to guard; you don't see too many like him in the NBA. Kevin Durant is one of the few other ones."
The 6-foot-3, 193-pound Irving said he loved the way the Cavs battled.
"We kept fighting," he said. "We wanted it badly. We were making it tough on them, but they kept making tough shots."
Sixers forwards Evan Turner (31 points, 10 rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (29 points, four rebounds, three steals) wore out the Cleveland defense the entire night.
Brown went with a three-guard offense with Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack and Irving on the court with big men Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson.
Irving drained two free throws with 21.1 seconds left in the second OT to hand the Cavs a 125-122 advantage.
But impressive rookie Michael Carter-Williams buried a 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds remaining to knot the score.
"It was a tough shot, but when I did the up-fake, I realized that I could jump over him, so I just tried to get the best shot that I could," the Rookie of the Year candidate said.
Carter-Williams ended with 21 points, seven rebounds and a game-high 13 assists.
The Cavs' starting backcourt of Irving and Waiters combined for 63 points and 18 assists. Waiters had 22 points after halftime, including 12 in the third quarter when he kept the Cavs in the game.
Thompson had 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the Cavs, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Varejao added 13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Jack came off the bench and fired in a season-high 20 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.
"That was a great NBA game," Brown said. "The only negative is that we lost. I told our guys how proud I am of them because they continued to fight and find any way possible to win."
NOTES: Cavs F Anthony Bennett was cleared to play by the training staff. He suffered a strained shoulder in Philadelphia on Friday. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft played nine minutes and missed one shot. He's 1 of 21 from the field this season. ... The Cavs decided to rest C Andrew Bynum on Saturday. He has yet to play in the second night of a back-to-back set. He missed last season after having knee surgery on both knees. ... Carter-Williams was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. The only other rookie to win the award to start his career was Orlando C Shaquille O'Neal. Carter-Williams' nine steals were the most ever by a player in his NBA debut. ... Brown started F Alonzo Gee at small forward in place of Earl Clark, who had started the first six games. ... The Sixers started the season 4-2 for the third consecutive season.