- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a breather. They got one Friday night.

Anderson Varejao scored 16 points and Kyrie Irving had 10 points and 10 assists, leading the Cavaliers to a 93-78 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

A visit from the worst team in basketball helped Cleveland’s cause. The Cavaliers used a 17-0 run in the second quarter and a 12-2 spurt in the third to win going away.

“I’d take this every game,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “We obviously haven’t had many of those.”

Varejao scored eight points to spark a 12-2 run that gave Cleveland a 64-46 lead late in the third quarter. Irving, selected an All-Star starter for the first time Thursday, had seven assists in the second half.

Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 13 points. Brandon Knight, who leads the Bucks with a 15.9 average, was held to eight points and went 4 of 12 from the field.

The Bucks (8-34) have lost 10 of 11. Milwaukee snapped a nine-game losing streak Wednesday against Detroit, but couldn’t build on the momentum from that win, a fact that disappointed coach Larry Drew.

“We didn’t play with a sense of urgency and, clearly, that’s my responsibility,” he said. “It is disappointing - take nothing away from this Cleveland Cavalier team - but I was expecting our guys to have a little bit more firepower. They were clearly the aggressor from start to finish.”

The game capped a couple of good days for Irving, who had no turnovers in 28 minutes. The third-year guard has also been chosen for the USA Basketball player pool. Irving plans on defending his 3-point title during All-Star weekend and said he would like to become the first player to win the contest three years in a row.

“We started off a little sluggish, but we definitely picked it up,” he said. “We forced them into some tough shots and got on our run.”

Irving is looking forward to next month’s All-Star festivities and the basketball world championships in the summer.

“I’m just really happy,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to be a star without the fans and also my teammates just encourage me every single game. It’s a great honor to be part of USA roster and All-Star.”

Tristan Thompson scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds while Dion Waiters added 13 points for Cleveland. The Cavaliers lost the first two games of a five-game homestand after going 3-2 on a West Coast trip.

“It was a good performance, especially after the two losses,” Brown said. “Our guys stepped up. We had a lot of good individual performances that turned into a good team performance.”

Cleveland was leading 54-44 when Varejao hit three jumpers and a running hook shot that helped push the lead to 18 points. Irving scored on a reverse layup and Thompson added a three-point play.

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