CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 31 points, Kyrie Irving added 28 and the Cleveland Cavaliers ended a turbulent week with a 124-116 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
The NBA champions had lost three straight and six of eight while James questioned whether the organization was fully committed to winning a second title.
The Cavaliers took advantage of a timely visit from the NBA’s worst team. Irving scored 20 points, and James added 10 in the third quarter when Cleveland built an 86-62 lead.
Kevin Love, named to the All-Star team Thursday, had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The Nets have lost four straight and 15 of their last 16. Brooklyn played without leading scorer Brook Lopez (rest) and top rebounder Trevor Booker (illness).
Sean Kilpatrick led Brooklyn with 18 points, and Bojan Bogdanovic had 17.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.