Cavs down Nuggets behind Thompson's monster effort
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Tristan Thompson grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds on top of 17 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers took down the Denver Nuggets, 98-88, from Quicken Loans Arena.
Kyrie Irving netted a game-high 23 points for the Cavs, who won their second straight tilt for the first time this season.
Anderson Varejao contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds off the bench and Andrew Bynum scored 14 points one game after his season-high 20 in a win over Chicago.
"That's a really good team in the other locker room," said Cleveland head coach Mike Brown. "They've been playing some good basketball. We got a lot of good performances from a lot of different guys."
Randy Foye made three triples en route to 16 points to lead a balanced Denver attack, but the Nuggets had their seven-game winning streak snapped. J.J. Hickson registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards, while Nate Robinson and Wilson Chandler deposited 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Cleveland got a boost from its bench in the opening quarter to assume a 31-24 lead after 12 minutes of play. No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett scored all five of his points late in the period, and Jarrett Jack canned a triple 45 seconds before the buzzer.
The Cavs led by 12 multiple times throughout the second quarter but failed to put away the resilient Nuggets, who used a 10-2 charge -- which included leading scorer Ty Lawson's only bucket of the contest -- to close out the half and claw back within four at 56-52.
Hickson's alley-oop from Foye 1:44 into the second half had Cleveland's lead down to two, but Denver never found a way to get over the hump. Bynum scored three straight baskets at the rim around a Chandler jumper, and Irving's jumper had the lead at 66-59 midway through the period.
Varejao made two crucial mid-range jumpers to break up a potential Denver charge midway through the fourth. Thompson added four straight free throws to extend the lead to 90-77, and Cleveland's defense did the rest.
"You can't win a game when you give up 20 offensive rebounds like we did tonight," said Denver head coach Brian Shaw. "Their bigs just beat up on our bigs, is what it came down to."
Lawson shot 1-for-13 from the floor for a season-low four points. Lawson has reached double figures in every previous contest. He did, however, dish out 11 assists ... Cleveland outrebounded the Nuggets, 58-43 ... The Nuggets shot just 6-of-23 from 3-point range.
12/04 23:42:20 ET