for this game

Irving, Cavs aim to sweep home-and-home set with Celtics

Jan 31, 2012 - 3:34 PM (Sports Network) - Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers will aim for a home-and-home sweep of the Boston Celtics tonight when the clubs play the back end of the set in Cleveland.

The Cavs won a thriller in Boston on Sunday when Irving's layup with 2.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Cleveland's 88-87 win.

Trailing 87-76 with under 4 1/2 minutes to play, the Cavaliers scored the final 12 points of the game to claim victory.

Irving's heroics came with the Cavs down by a point and coming out of a timeout. The rookie star let the clock run down before making his way to the hoop. Irving then made a nice spin move in the lane and put home a layup, giving the visitors the 88-87 edge with 2.6 seconds to go.

Paul Pierce failed to get a shot off at the other end for the Celtics as time expired.

"We just came with a lot of energy, coming out of that last timeout. We knew that if we got a couple stops we'd be in the game," Irving said. "They're a great team. We give a lot of credit to them and we just wanted to come out aggressive; especially when we needed that comeback. We were down 11 points, it was a tough come-back, but we carried it out and I'm really proud of my teammates."

Irving ended with 23 points and six assists in the game for Cleveland, which has won two of three overall. Anderson Varejao tallied 18 points and nine rebounds.

Ray Allen returned to the lineup and had 22 points for the Celtics, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Allen had missed the previous three games with a jammed left ankle.

Pierce donated 18 points, six boards and five assists for Boston, which missed a chance to climb over .500 on the season and now trails Philadelphia by five games in the Atlantic Division. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

"Like I said, the defense just didn't step up," Pierce said. "We allowed more points in the fourth quarter than we did all game, and the turnovers really came to bite us. I turned the ball over too much today. Turnovers really came back to bite us today."

Boston remained without starters Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O'Neal. Rondo sat out his sixth consecutive game due to a wrist injury, while O'Neal missed a third straight contest with a balky left knee. Both players remain listed as day-to-day but neither seem all that close to returning.

For Cleveland, veteran guards Anthony Parker (back) and Boobie Gibson (neck) have already been ruled out for tonight.

The Cavs lost two of three to the C's last season.