CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 35 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-108 tonight.
Irving, voted an Eastern Conference reserve for next month's All-Star Game in Houston on Thursday, scored 16 points in the third quarter to help Cleveland get back in the game. He added eight points down the stretch as the Cavaliers posted back-to-back wins for only the second time this season.
Cleveland, which trailed 79-59 midway through the third quarter, took a 96-95 lead on a 3-pointer by newly acquired Wayne Ellington with 6:31 to play. The basket was his first since joining the Cavaliers from Memphis on Tuesday, and it gave Cleveland the lead for good.
Ersan Ilyasova scored a season-high 30 points and Monta Ellis added 21, but the Bucks' collapse ended their three-game winning streak.
Following Ellington's basket, a 3-pointer by Daniel Gibson, a breakaway layup by Shaun Livingston and a foul shot by Marreese Speights helped Cleveland build a 102-95 lead.
Ellis' 3-pointer cut the margin to 102-98, but Irving's basket gave Cleveland a six-point lead. Baskets by Brandon Jennings and Larry Sanders made it 104-102, but Speights, also acquired in the deal with Memphis, hit a basket and a foul shot to put the Cavaliers ahead 107-102 with 1:06 remaining.
Ilysaova's basket made it a three-point game, but Irving added a jumper and four free throws to put it away.
Irving, coming off a 40-point performance against Boston on Tuesday, hit 12 of 17 from the field and made all nine of his free throws.
Tristan Thompson scored 18 points and Dion Waiters added 16 for the Cavaliers. Livingston scored 12 points. Speights scored 10 points and had six rebounds in 18 minutes.
Brandon Jennings, who was left off the Eastern Conference All-Star team by coaches picking the reserves, scored 14 points for the Bucks, but was 5 of 19 from the field and was scoreless in the first half. He finished with 12 assists. Sanders had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bucks are 6-3 under interim coach Jim Boylan, who replaced Scott Skiles on Jan. 8.
Trailing 31-30 early in the second quarter, Ilyasova hit three 3-pointers in 1:29 to help the Bucks build a 41-33 lead. The margin reached 11 points and the Bucks were ahead 59-50 at halftime. Milwaukee scored 38 points in the quarter — a season high for any period this season — and hit 15 of 24 from the field.
Milwaukee hit its first four shots of the third quarter, including another 3-pointer by Ilyasova and Jennings' first basket of the game, which led to a quick timeout by Cleveland coach Byron Scott. The lead reached 79-59 midway through the period, but the Cavaliers cut the margin to 90-81 by the end of the period thanks mostly to Irving, who hit 5 of 6 from the field.
The Cavaliers cut the margin to 90-87 early in the fourth quarter and outscored the Bucks 32-18 in the period.
NOTES: Milwaukee hasn't had a player in the All-Star Game since 2004 when Michael Redd made the team. ... The Bucks host Golden State on Saturday night. ... Milwaukee is 17-10 against Eastern Conference teams. ... .. Cleveland G C.J. Miles, who had been battling the flu, dressed, but didn't play. ... Cleveland is 2-9 against the Central Division. ... The Cavaliers play at Toronto on Saturday.