LOS ANGELES — Kyrie Irving injured his left biceps in the first quarter and didn’t return and the Cavaliers concluded this three-game West Coast trip with a 102-80 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Cavs fell behind by as many as 21 and still trailed by 17 entering the fourth, then held the Clippers scoreless for more than three minutes to start the quarter. A jumper by Jarrett Jack cut the deficit to 76-69 with 9:22 left, but Blake Griffin ended the scoreless drought with a jumper and soon the Clippers’ lead was back to 17.
The extent of Irving’s injury isn’t clear. He appeared to injure himself reaching for a ball out of bounds, then DeAndre Jordan hit the arm at an awkward angle. Irving subbed out shortly after the play and finished with two points, four rebounds and two assists in less than 10 minutes.
The loss dropped the Cavs 4.5 games behind the suddenly surging Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff spot. If Irving is forced to miss any more games, it will only further compound the Cavs’ already-long odds at stealing a playoff berth.
Luol Deng had 23 points, Dion Waiters had 15 off the bench and Anderson Varejao had 12 rebounds for the Cavs, who were trying to sweep their first West Coast trip — and first road trip of any kind (minimum three games) in more than five years.
Instead, the Clippers remained the league’s hottest team, extending their winning streak to 11 in a row while the Cavs go home for another three-game gantlet that includes the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
Griffin had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Chris Paul had 16 points (11 in the fourth quarter) and 15 assists and Jordan had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.
By Jason Lloyd
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services