CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Kemba Walker admits there's always a little extra incentive when he goes up against Kyrie Irving.
Walker won the duel with his longtime friend on Friday night, scoring 23 points and handing out seven assists to help the Bobcats beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 90-84 in their home opener, giving new coach Steve Clifford his first win.
"I've known Kyrie for a while and his dad is from my neighborhood," said Walker, a Bronx, N.Y. native. "Seeing him growing up playing basketball, we are just longtime friends. So when I play against him it's a lot of fun."
Walker hit a 3-pointer over Irving with 58 seconds left to break a tie.
The Cavaliers had two chances to tie, but Josh McRoberts came up with a steal and Jarrett Jack had an air-ball on a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
Gerald Henderson added two free throws in the final 11 seconds to make it a two-possession game and help seal the win.
"Coach puts me in great position to make plays like that and if he's going to put me in that position I have to come up big," Walker said of his go-ahead 3-pointer.
Bismack Biyombo, who filled in for injured center Al Jefferson, came up big for Charlotte scoring 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds.
CJ Miles had 22 points, and Tristan Thompson added 21 for the Cavaliers.
Irving had 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting, but was held to one point in the fourth quarter. He attempted only three shots in the fourth and missed them all. The Bobcats limited the Cavaliers to 38 percent shooting.
"Our second half defense was much better, particularly on Irving," Clifford said.
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown was frustrated over his team's lack of mental focus and execution. At least three times a pass sailed through the hands of a Cavalier player and out of bounds for a turnover.