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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Cavs 91, Mavericks 88

By Nate Published: February 4, 2012

Add this to rookie Kyrie Irving's short pro resume: Drove to the basket and made two clutch layups in the final 2 minutes, 35 seconds to lead the Cavaliers to victory over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

Irving made his first game-winning shot on Jan. 29, when he slashed through the Boston Celtics' defense to make a layup with 2.6 seconds left.

This time, Irving made two sensational plays in crunch time. The first one gave the Cavs the lead for good with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter. The second one extended the Cavs’ advantage to three points with 15.8 seconds left.

Irving's ability to slice through the lane and make shots in traffic clearly sets him apart. His aggression in crunch time will lead to good things for the Cavs more times than not.

Anderson Varejao was another player who continued to turn heads. He had 17 points and 17 rebounds (seven offensive). He has 61 rebounds in his last four games.

Irving and Varejao have formed quite a tandem as of late.

Turning point
The Cavs kept the Mavericks from making a field goal after guard Jason Terry nailed a 3-pointer with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter. Irving's two clutch layups and a successful floater from Varejao with 41.4 seconds left lifted the Cavs to victory.

Key stat
The Cavs had 17 second-chance points and 19 points off turnovers. They finished with nine turnovers compared with the Mavericks' 21.

"I just feel my teammates' confidence down the stretch. They continue to give me the ball, and they have the confidence in me to make the right play. Once you have that confidence, it's easy going into the fourth quarter." — Irving

Quotable II
"He's an animal. We knew that coming in, and he's just great. He's relentless. He's got a great nose for the ball, and he just keeps coming." — Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki on Varejao

Quotable III
"I thought in the fourth quarter, he was pretty fresh. We put the ball in his hands and let him make decisions. He has a unique ability to get to the basket. When he gets there, he has a great way of finishing. Once he gets around guys, he is just a great little finisher, and he can finish on the inside with either hand. — Cavs coach Byron Scott on Irving

Up next
The Cavs (9-13) visit the Miami Heat (17-6) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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