The Bobcats wasted a fourth-quarter comeback in their bid to win two in a row. Charlotte ended an 18-game losing streak with a 10-point victory at Chicago on New Year's Eve.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, Charlotte came back to take a brief lead inside the 5-minute mark.
A hook shot by Gerald Henderson lifted the Bobcats into a 104-104 tie with 16 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers worked the ball to Irving for the final shot. His winning jumper made him 10-of-21 from the field and he connected on all 10 of his free-throw attempts.
The Cavaliers ended a three-game skid and won for just the eighth time this season. They are one of four teams in the NBA that have yet to reach 10 victories.
Charlotte was paced by Ben Gordon with 27 points off the bench.