CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving had 29 points, Anderson Varejao had career highs of 23 rebounds and nine assists and the Cavaliers squandered a 16-point lead before rallying to beat the Wizards 94-84 in their season opener on Tuesday.
The Cavs went scoreless for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing the Wizards to turn a 74-62 deficit into a 76-74 lead. But when Cavs coach Byron Scott reinserted his starters, rookie Dion Waiters sank a big 3-pointer and the Cavs held on.
Waiters, starting his first game since high school, had 17 points in his best showing after struggling through training camp. Irving and Waiters combined to outscore the Wizards’ starting backcourt 46-15.
Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Daniel Gibson had 10 points off the bench and the Cavs took advantage of a depleted Wizards team that was without their two best players – John Wall and Nene.
The Cavs host the Chicago Bulls on Friday.