The game featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties, with the Clippers (26-14) leading by as many as nine points and the Cavaliers (20-21) leading by as many as 10.
The Cavaliers, who trailed by three points, 95-92, entering the fourth quarter, took control of the game in the fourth behind Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, going up by as many as 10 points. The Clippers cut the deficit to two points, 123-121, with nine seconds left after Chris Paul made a layup, but Matthew Dellavedova and James made three free throws in the final seconds.
James, who was playing in his third game back after missing eight because of knee and back soreness, finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. In his first two games back, he scored 33 and 36 points, respectively. Irving had 37 points and five assists.
The Cavaliers, who beat the Lakers on Thursday night, outshot the Clippers, 55% to 47.3%.
Austin Rivers made history Friday when he played in his first game as a Clipper, becoming the first NBA player to be coached in a game by his father. His debut wasn't exactly impressive -- he finished scoreless on zero-for-four shooting, with one assist and and one foul.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 34 points and 10 rebounds, including an array of how-did-you-just-make-that shots and dunks. DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 12 rebounds -- he also spent a lot of time at the free-throw line, where he made five of his 12 attempts, after the Cavaliers initiated a hack-a-Jordan routine in the third quarter. Paul finished with 15 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds.
The Clippers entered Friday's game having won six of their last eight, including an impressive 100-94 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland on Wednesday. Their home record dropped to 17-7.
They finish their second leg of a back-to-back Saturday in Sacramento against the Kings at 7 p.m.