PORTLAND — The first matchup between Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard turned into a huge night for the reigning Rookie of the Year.
Irving scored 31 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers 93-88 on Wednesday to snap a four-game losing streak.
“When he’s aggressive, he’s pushing the ball and he’s in attack mode,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said of Irving. “I think our guys feed off of that.”
Tristan Thompson added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Nicolas Batum had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who erased a 19-point second-quarter deficit and briefly took the lead. Wesley Matthews added 17 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15.
“I thought Cleveland, obviously, in the first half played harder,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “But we fought.”
Lillard finished with 13 points. Portland’s rookie point guard is averaging 18.1 a game, but he entered the fourth quarter with only three on 0-for-3 shooting. He got going in the final period, tying the score at 75 with a 3-pointer and giving the Blazers an 86-85 lead by hitting a 20-footer with 2:07 left.
Irving took over from there, though. He made a pull-up jumper, a turnaround bank shot and a couple of free throws as Portland wilted.
Portland has lost four straight by a total of 19 points. The Blazers started slow and spent long stretches trying to dig out of holes, possibly the consequence of going overtime with the Nuggets on Tuesday night in a 115-111 loss in Denver’s high altitude.
“There’s no excuses,” Matthews said. “They played better than us for a half and we couldn’t get out of the hole.”
Hornets 90, Celtics 78: Austin Rivers won his first NBA game against his father as the New Orleans Hornets beat coach Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.
Greivis Vasquez scored 15 points with 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which won for the sixth time in seven games and stopped Boston’s six-game winning streak. Austin Rivers scored eight points against his dad’s team; they became the fourth father-son matchup in NBA history.
Paul Pierce scored 12 points with 10 rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes for the Celtics.
Heat 92, Warriors 75: LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points and also surpassed 5,000 assists on a milestone night, leading Miami over undermanned Golden State.
Jarrett Jack scored 16 in place of Stephen Curry, who sprained his twice surgically repaired right ankle during Golden State’s morning practice. The team said X-rays were negative, and Warriors coach Mark Jackson said he doesn’t expect Curry to be out long.
Spurs 103, Grizzlies 82: Tony Parker had 17 points and 11 assists San Antonio beat Memphis, extending its home winning streak to 13 games.
Rudy Gay scored 17 points as all five starters reached double figures for Memphis.
Thunder 117, Nuggets 97: Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and Oklahoma City snapped Denver’s six-game winning streak. Kosta Koufos had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets.
Hawks 109, Nets 95: Jeff Teague had a career-high 28 points and 11 assists and the short-handed Atlanta Hawks ended Brooklyn’s seven-game winning streak.
The Hawks played without leading scorer Josh Smith, suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount for “conduct detrimental to the team” following an incident in practice Tuesday.
Brook Lopez had 22 points for the Nets, who lost for only the second time in 11 games under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Mavericks 105, Rockets 100: Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points, O.J. Mayo hit two tiebreaking free throws and Dallas held off a Jeremy Lin-led surge to beat Houston.
James Harden led the Rockets with 20 points and Lin added 19.
Bulls 107, Raptors 105, OT: Luol Deng hit a tiebreaking jumper with 3 seconds left in overtime and Chicago beat Toronto for the eighth time in nine meetings. Carlos Boozer had a season-high 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls.
Alan Anderson fouled out with 27 points, matching his career high, as Toronto lost its third straight.
Magic 97, Pacers 86: Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 15 rebounds in Orlando’s win. Paul George had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana.
Kings 95, Wizards 94: DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 16 rebounds to help Sacramento beat Washington.
Bradley Beal scored 26 points, but missed a runner in the closing seconds for the Wizards and John Wall followed with a desperation shot from inside the lane that never hit the rim.