CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the injury-riddled Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 99-83 on Wednesday night.
Irving's big night came at a perfect time for Cleveland, which had lost five of six overall and six straight at home. The margin of victory was Cleveland's biggest of the season.
The Cavaliers, who had only 10 available players, announced earlier in the day that center Anderson Varejao will have surgery today to repair a muscle that split near his right knee. He will miss six to eight weeks. Varejao was having an all-star caliber season, averaging 14.1 points and an NBA-leading 14.4 rebounds.
Josh Smith scored 17 points to lead Atlanta, which has lost a season-worst four straight.
NOTES: Cleveland begins a five-game road trip in Denver on Friday night. ... Gibson has missed the last six games.