The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 3, 2013

Irving’s 35 pace Cavs against Thunder

(Continued)

CLEVELAND —

Westbrook scored seconds later, and after Thompson scored for Cleveland, Durant coolly buried a 3-pointer to tie it at 108 with 1:26 remaining.

Then, with a sold-out Quicken Loans quaking the way it once did when LeBron James starred here, Irving dribbled through the lane, bought some room with a ridiculous hesitation move and hit another layup. Durant missed a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left, giving Irving a chance to ice it.

And that he did, burying a long 3 from the top of the key over Westbrook before clenching both fists in celebration.

“I never know what shot I’m going to take,” said Irving, who was just 1 of 7 to start the game. “I saw him back on his heels a little bit.”

Durant got the Thunder to 113-110 but Irving did it again, this time knocking down a 12-foot bank shot to cap a performance none of the 20,562 fans on hand will soon forget — and one Irving hopes to draw upon in the future.

“It’s my responsibility as a leader of this team to do this every single night,” he said. “It has to come from within.”

The Thunder surrendered in the final seconds, and after the horn sounded, Westbrook wrapped his arms around Irving, who had gotten the best of him.

“He came through in the fourth quarter,” Durant said. “He hit some big shots. He hit a tough 3. He was getting to the rim. He’s a quick guy.”

Durant appeared to injure his lower back in the third while hustling back on defense. He stayed in the game for two minutes before he was escorted to the locker room, grabbing his right side. When he left, the Thunder led by five but by the time he returned to the bench with 9:55 remaining, the Cavaliers had tied it at 81.

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