Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving sets NBA season high with 57 points
This was a case of Cleveland's three-time All-Star saving his best for last. Irving scored nine points in the final minute of regulation, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer to force overtime, and added 11 more in the extra period.
All told, he scored 15 consecutive points as the Cavaliers erased a 108-101 deficit in the final minute of the fourth quarter. The shocking rally was aided by two missed free throws by Kawhi Leonard with just seconds to go in regulation.
"I just couldn't have done it without my teammates," Irving told reporters. "Shots were going in. I was getting open, and during the end of the game we never gave up. ... A few of those shots, I just threw them up at the rim, and I was lucky enough and blessed enough that they went in."
Here are a few notes about Irving's record-setting night.
- Irving's 57 points surpassed his previous career high of 55 points, set in a Jan. 28 victory over the Blazers, which stood as the NBA's previous highest-scoring output during the 2014-15 season.
- Irving's 57 points set a Cavaliers franchise record, surpassing LeBron James, who scored 56 points against the Raptors on March 20, 2005.
- Irving becomes the first player this season to score 50+ points on multiple occasions. Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and Timberwolves guard Mo Williams are the only other players to top 50 points in a game this season.
- Irving becomes the first player since Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to score 55+ points multiple times in the same season. Bryant accomplished the feat three times during the 2006-07 season.
- Irving joins Bryant (2005-06 and 2006-07) and Michael Jordan (1992-93) as the only players to score 55+ points multiple times in the same season since the 1990-91 season.
- Irving joins Thunder forward Kevin Durant as the only players to score 50+ points multiple times in the same season since 2009-10. Durant accomplished the feat twice last year.
Irving shot 20 of 32 from the field, 7 of 7 on three-pointers and 10 of 10 from the free throw line. He added five assists, three rebounds and four steals in 47 minutes.
"I thought he was pretty decent," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Kyrie Irving was unstoppable. I don’t know how to guard that. He did a hell of a job. We all know how talented he is, but he really went to a new level tonight. He had a hell of a night and that talent just got us."
James added 31 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland improved to 42-25. San Antonio dropped to 40-24.