LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rookie Dion Waiters hit seven 3-pointers and scored 28 points, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers stave off a fourth-quarter rally by the Los Angeles Clippers to win 108-101 on Monday night.
Kyrie Irving added 24 points, Tyler Zeller had 15 points and Anderson Varejao had 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Cavs snapped a two-game skid.
Waiters set career highs in points and 3-pointers in his fourth NBA game.
Blake Griffin scored 20 points, Jamal Crawford added 19 and Chris Paul had 17 for the Clippers, who lost their second straight after opening the season with two wins in a row.
The Cavs led by nine early in the fourth before Griffin, Paul and Crawford teamed up to spark the Clippers. Paul got things going with a 3-pointer and a driving layup, then set up Griffin’s dunk with an alley-oop pass before Crawford hit a 3 to tie the game at 94.
Waiters answered with two straight 3-pointers, the second coming in front of the Clippers’ bench, then Varejao stole a pass from DeAndre Jordan and hit a jumper at the other end to keep the Cavs ahead 102-96.
Crawford hit another 3-pointer to get the Clippers within three before getting outscored 6-2 in the final 52 seconds.
Waiters scored 12 of Cleveland’s first 14 points to open the third, when they led by 13 early on only to see the Clippers cut it to six points going into the fourth. The Clippers shot 57 percent from the floor and regained a 16-10 edge in the paint to close within striking distance.
Cleveland’s momentum carried into the second quarter when it outscored the Clippers 26-22 to lead 57-50 at the break, with Varejao’s driving layup just beating the halftime buzzer. Irving had 16 points in the half to eight by Paul, whose team had 13 turnovers.
The Cavs missed their first four shots of the game while falling behind by seven. They got going near the end of the first quarter, with consecutive 3-pointers by Daniel Gibson and Irving to take their first lead of the game.
Notes: Zeller left the court with 5:39 to play after apparently getting hit in the face. … Crawford had led the Clippers in scoring in each of their first three games. … Paul had nine assists, ending his run of three straight points-assists double-doubles. … The Clippers have sold out their first three home games, extending their streak of consecutive sellouts to 53. … The Cavs won the teams’ only meeting last season.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.