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AP

LeBron scores 16 in fourth as Cavaliers outlast Lakers, 119-108

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CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving matched a career high with 12 assists and the refreshed Cleveland Cavaliers finally put away Los Angeles in the fourth quarter, beating the young Lakers 119-108 on Saturday night.

Kevin Love had 27 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, leading the Cavs to their sixth win in seven games.

The Cavs were back at full strength after coach Tyronn Lue left James, Love and Irving behind earlier this week for a game in Memphis, a decision that sparked some criticism as fans were denied a chance to see the three stars and Cleveland lost.

Irving looked more like himself in his first game in a week, adding 21 points as the Cavs improved to 19-6.

James, who was late getting onto the floor before the game, scored 26 points and needs two more to pass Moses Malone for eighth place on the career scoring list.

Nick Young made eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 32 for the Lakers, who snapped an eight-game losing streak on Friday in Philadelphia and were a headache for the defending NBA champions all night.

Jordan Clarkson added 20 points and Los Angeles rookie Brandon Ingram missed a triple-double by one point and an assist.

Channing Frye and James each hit a 3 to help Cleveland to a 95-86 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Lakers refused to give in and were still within 110-105 when James drained another 3-pointer with 2:32 left as Cleveland closed the game on a 10-3 run.

Los Angeles first-year coach Luke Walton wanted his team to “come out swinging. Nobody is expecting us to win.” The Lakers did just that, taking an eight-point lead after one quarter and outworking the Cavs, who weren’t connected on either end of the floor.

Cleveland briefly turned up its defensive intensity to offset its sluggish start, opening the second quarter with a 15-2 run.

The Lakers, though, hung around by making 16 3-pointers and had a chance for an upset before James took over in the fourth.

TIP-INS

Lakers: G D'Angelo Russell was inactive with a sore left knee that has bothered him most of the season. He scored 15 in Friday’s win. … Walton was an assistant with Golden State last season and said he has yet to watch Cleveland’s Game 7 win in the NBA Finals. “You don’t get over losing Game 7,” he said. “You’re happy for the guys here, but it sticks with you for the rest of your life.” … Walton spent two seasons playing with the Cavs, who were rebuilding in 2011-13 after James left for Miami. “I had a blast here. We didn’t win a lot,” he said. “But the fans were great and packed the arena every night. Good memories for me.”

Cavaliers: Cleveland has won five straight over the Lakers. … The Cavs have won 25 of their last 29 at home against Western Conference teams. … Lue said he and general manager David Griffin are still discussing roster options after C Chris “Birdman” Andersen sustained a season-ending – and likely career-ending – knee injury in practice Friday. The Cavs have been looking to add a backup point guard, but may now also be in the market for a big. Lue said the Cavs will miss Andersen’s positive energy. “I love what he stands for,” Lue said.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Continue their six-game trip at Charlotte on Tuesday.

Cavaliers: At Milwaukee on Tuesday before hosting the Bucks on Wednesday.

PBT Extra: Fan votes from twitter on MVP, other awards

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We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.

Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.

I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.

Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier ejected for altercation, leading to hilarious Dwight Howard free throws (video)

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Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.

It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.

One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.

The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.

He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.

Kent Bazemore hits game-winner to lift Hawks over Pelicans (video)

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Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.

This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.

Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.

Jalen Rose calls Paul Pierce petty to his face (video)

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Paul Pierce is being petty about Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video.

And that’s from someone who empathizes with Pierce’s point of view.

When retiring a player’s number, teams tastefully use stoppages to show highlights and tributes to the player. The whole night, not just the moment of raising a number into the rafters, can be about celebrating the player. It’s reasonable for Pierce to want the entire package.

But to go on television and advocate for not showing Thomas’ video? To continue the campaign after Thomas made clear how important his video was to him? To tell the Celtics not to show a short video for Thomas during introductions?

It’s way too far.

Too many people around Pierce enabled his flawed approach. Jalen Rose put that to a pointed stop.

Rose on ESPN:

I’ve got say a word for you, fam. I think it was petty.

On Paul Pierce’s part.

I love Paul. This is my brother. Because to me, there are going to be all type of announcements that happen in the 48 minutes during that game. All types. Including Isaiah Thomas could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation. Like Kobe’s, it happened during the game. Because they’re doing yours post-game.

The look on Pierce’s face while Rose was talking!