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LeBron James, Kevin Love lead Cavaliers to 111-104 win over Knicks

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NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James had 32 points and 10 assists, Kevin Love added 23 points and 16 rebounds in his return from back spasms, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 111-104 on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers won for the ninth straight time against the Knicks and didn’t even need Kyrie Irving, who didn’t play because of right quadriceps soreness.

Love was back after missing two games and showed why the NBA champions may have no reason to entertain the trade rumors involving him and Carmelo Anthony that surround the teams.

The Cavs, who won the first two meetings by an average of 30.5 points, led this one by 27 in the opener to a four-game road trip.

Brandon Jennings had 23 points and 10 assists in place of point guard Derrick Rose, who missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Anthony and Courtney Lee each added 17 points.

The Knicks have contacted the Cavs about trading him for Love, according to reports, but Love looked the better player Saturday and seemed healthy while playing 35 minutes.

James became the youngest player to surpass 28,000 points in leading the Cavs to their seventh straight win at Madison Square Garden, one of his favorite arenas. And he led the defensive effort against Anthony, who shot just 6 for 20 from the field.

One of those makes was when he stole the ball from James and dunked to cut it to 106-101 with 59 seconds left. But James came down on the next possession and found Love in the corner for an open 3-pointer, then drove around and through the Knicks defense for a dunk that pushed the lead back to double digits.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland improved to 13-0 against the Atlantic Division. … Former Knicks forward Channing Frye scored 14 points.

Knicks: Starting center Joakim Noah played just six minutes because of a sore left hamstring. … Saturday was the fifth anniversary of the kickoff of “Linsanity,” when Jeremy Lin, then a little-known reserve, came off the bench to spark the Knicks a comeback victory and begin his dizzying couple of weeks when he was briefly an NBA star.

SUPER SELECTION

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he was picking the Patriots to win Sunday’s Super Bowl because of his respect for Bill Belichick. Lue said he became a fan when he was a Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers, when the coaching staffs visited each other.

“I like what he does, I like what he brings, I like who he is as a coach,” Lue said.

James declined to make a prediction.

TRIPLE, MAKE THAT, DOUBLE-DOUBLE

Saturday was the eighth anniversary of James’ triple-double that wasn’t. He was credited with 52 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in the Cavs’ 107-102 victory here on Feb. 4, 2009, making him the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 with 50 points in a triple-double. But the NBA removed the final rebound shortly after following a review of the video.

“We got a win. That’s the only thing that kind of mattered to me,” James said when asked to recall that. “If it happens to come in the flow of the game and I’m able to get a triple-double, cool. But I’ve always, obviously you guys know me, I only care about the win in that sense.”

BOMB SQUAD

The Knicks honored five members of their 1988-89 Atlantic Division championship team that set a then-NBA record with 386 3-pointers. Mark Jackson, Rod Strickland, Gerald Wilkins, Trent Tucker and Johnny Newman were the members of the “Bomb Squad” that made the 3-point shot a weapon under Rick Pitino long before it was utilized the way it is in today’s game.

 

John Wall’s 24 points lead Wizards over Pelicans 105-91

Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — John Wall had 24 points and 13 assists, Markieff Morris scored 18 points and the Washington Wizards held New Orleans scoreless for the final 5:52 of the fourth quarter to beat the Pelicans 105-91 Saturday night for their seventh straight win.

Washington has its longest winning streak since a seven-game stretch from Jan. 2-15, 2005. The Wizards extended their home winning streak to 17 games, second-longest in franchise history.

Anthony Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead New Orleans, which lost its fourth straight. The Pelicans were held scoreless after Tyreke Evans hit a 3-pointer to take a 91-90 lead with 5:52 to play.

Morris’ dunk 12 seconds later put the Wizards ahead and started a game-closing 15-0 run.

The Wizards (30-20) moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014-15 season.

TIP INS:

Pelicans: G Buddy Hield, held scoreless on Sunday in the team’s last meeting, shot 3 for 10 and had six points. Coach Alvin Gentry isn’t worried about Hield, who was a highly heralded player in college a year ago. Hield was recently moved into the starting lineup. “I think he’s making progress. I think he’s going to be a really good player in this league,” Gentry said. … G Jrue Holiday had 10 rebounds and six turnovers, both season-highs.

Wizards: F Danuel House, who has played in just one game this season, is nearing a return from his fractured right wrist. “You’ll probably see him in the next 10 days or so. Maybe he plays in the D-League,” coach Scott Brooks said. … Wall moved into 10th place on the team’s all-time scoring list. … C Marcin Gortat had 17 rebounds – 10 in the first quarter. … Washington has won 22 games at home this season – equaling its 2015-16 home win total.

 

Knicks’ Courtney Lee rejects Cavs Tristan Thompson at the rim (VIDEO)

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The Cavaliers and Knicks are the Saturday night prime-time game from Madison Square Garden, and the Knicks were giving their fans something hope for after another week of drama off the court.

Courtney Lee did — he shut down Tristan Thompson at the rim. Lee was having a tough defensive night, getting the LeBron James assignment (on a night LeBron’s jumper was falling), but he was making plays.

Kent Bazemore with impressive alley-oop finish for Hawks (VIDEO)

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Orlando wasn’t putting up much defensive resistance against Atlanta Saturday night, the Hawks put up 91 points in three quarters. Atlanta is too good to play like that and have any hope.

The Magic fell asleep on the play above and let Kent Bazemore get a clean cut to the rim, and once there he knows how to finish. Bazemore can get up there with the best of them.

James Harden drew foul on Michael Carter-Williams by laying on him (VIDEO)

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James Harden‘s unorthodox style draws him a lot of fouls. His game is in part built around it — when he drives he can dish, he can score, but he’s almost certainly going to draw a foul (or get enough space to make a play as guys try to avoid fouling).

However, the play above was not him drawing a foul, it was a bad call.

It was overtime between Chicago and Houston, and Michael Carter-Williams fronted Harden to deny the easy pass, so Harden just laid on his back and the two fell to the ground. The referees blew the whistle but stunned Chicago by calling the foul on Carter-Williams, his sixth. Harden got two free throws.

That call alone was not the reason the Bulls lost to the Rockets, they gave up a late 8-0 run in regulation that allowed the game to be sent to overtime. There were other things. But that also doesn’t make that a good call. Taj Gibson said this after the game, via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

“He gets so many calls his way, it’s ridiculous sometimes,” Gibson said. “It was some rough calls late, but we had some guys who learned a lot tonight.”

“That was a big call, a tough call. But we had a chance to win the game. The game goes on. The refs can’t overturn it. James blatantly jumped on his back.”

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report does not address this because it was outside the last two minutes of overtime. Also, this is not the first time Harden has drawn a foul this way.