Irving's 57-point effort topped his 55-point showing against Portland for the NBA's season best. The Cavs' point guard had the 55-point game on January 28th at home. He scored 9 points in the final minute of regulation Thursday, and added 11 points in the extra period. Irving also set a franchise-high for points scored in a single game, topping James' 56-point game against Toronto in 2005.
The win for Cleveland snapped San Antonio's 6-game winning streak.
James returned from a 1-game absence, but Irving was the hero on this night, tying the game at 110 with a 3-pointer with just 4.3 seconds left in regulation. The former All-Star MVP made all 7 of his 3-point attempts, finished 20-of-32 from the field, and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
James got retribution on the team that ended his stint in Miami last season, as he added 31 points on the night. He finished 10-for-20 from the floor against Kawhi Leonard.
Tony Parker had 31 points of his own for the Spurs in a losing effort, while Leonard added 24.
Irving's breakout game was the most points scored in the regular season against the defending champion since 1962, when Wilt Chamberlain scored 62 against the Philadelphia Warriors. Elgin Baylor scored 64 against the defending champion Boston Celtics in the 1959-60 season, good for the most all-time in that category.
The Cavaliers improved to 42-25 on the season and will enjoy a few days off before visiting the Orlando Magic Sunday night. The Spurs fell to 40-24 overall and will host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.