James muscles Cavaliers past Jazz 118-114
Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder as Durant hurt
UTAH: Cleveland forward LeBron James reminded the NBA of his raw power on Tuesday, scoring 31 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, as the Cavaliers muscled their way to a 118-114 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. The Cavaliers trailed by as many as nine in the fourth, but James stole a pass and dribbled the length of the floor for an impressive three-point play. Jazz guard Rodney Hood did his best to wrap up James and prevent the shot, but the Cavs forward powered through for the basket and foul. He looked at Hood and slapped his biceps as the sellout crowd roared.
“Bron is the greatest player in the game. I don’t think there’s anyone with a higher basketball IQ or a better understanding of the moment,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “I think he just understood the moment. He took over the game and lifted the rest of the guys with him. He did the things that a great player like him, only him, can do.” James’ three-point play pulled the Cavs within 95-94 but gave them all the momentum. It revived a slumbering team that remained unbeaten at home (5-0) with their seventh consecutive victory.
However, Cleveland (7-1) had to work for it on a night when they were sloppy with the ball (17 turnovers) and off rhythm. “The win is the only thing that’s important to me,” James said. “We had some good points, we had some bad points, but we stuck with it.” James added eight assists and seven rebounds, while Mo Williams had 29 points, six rebounds and six assists. He made his first eight shots and did not miss until 1:37 remained. Kevin Love had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Alec Burks scored 24 points off the bench for the Jazz (4-3), while forwards Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors each scored 17 points. Rudy Gobert had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Hood fouled out with 16 points. “They’re a veteran team that knows how to close out games and how to win basketball games,” Hayward said. “That’s something that we can learn from.” The Jazz trailed most of the night until late in the third quarter. They extended their lead to 95-86 on a dunk by Gobert with 7:22 left before James and the Cavs began to roll.
Hood responded to James’ power play by stroking a three-pointer at the other end, but it was the only basket the Jazz scored for nearly five minutes in the fourth quarter. The drought allowed the Cavaliers to regain the lead. “You can see why they’re as good as they are,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I was happy with the way we hung in there ... we didn’t get rattled. “Our guys need to feel good about how hard we played, and we need to figure out how to win some of these, too.”
Heat 101, Lakers 88
Kobe Bryant did not make a final game appearance at the American Airlines Arena on Tuesday, but the Miami Heat were just fine with having the 17-time All-Star guard in street clothes. With Bryant a late scratch to give him a rest, the Heat handled the Los Angeles Lakers 101-88. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 30 points on nine-of-16 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 from the freethrow line.
Thunder 125, Wizards 101
Kevin Durant did not play the second half after suffering a hamstring injury, but Russell Westbrook picked up the slack with a tripledouble as the Oklahoma City Thunder trounced the Washington Wizards 125-101. Westbrook finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Thunder (53), who led 68-50 at halftime and by as many as 29 points in the second half.
Knicks 111, Raptors 109
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and the New York Knicks held on in the fourth quarter to defeat the Toronto Raptors 111109. It was the second win in a row for the Knicks (4-4) and the third straight loss for the Raptors (5-3). Lance Thomas scored 15 points off the bench for the Knicks and Langston Galloway scored 15, also as a reserve. Robin Lopez had 12 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
Celtics 99, Bucks 83
A 16-0 third-quarter run propelled the Boston Celtics to an easy 99-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Isiah Thomas scored 20 points to lead the Celtics, who also got 12 from Jae Crowder and 11 from Jered Sullinger.
Hornets 104, Timberwolves 95
Charlotte guards Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb helped key the Hornets’ 104-95 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. Lin scored a game-high 19 points, while Lamb added 18 points and four rebounds to give the Hornets their second road victory of the year.
Pelicans 120, Mavericks 105
Ryan Anderson scored 25 points as the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a seasonopening, six-game losing streak with a 120105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Smoothie King Arena. However, the win may have been costly as forward Anthony Davis sustained a calf injury early in the third quarter and did not return. Davis scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 19 minutes. — Reuters
CLEVELAND: Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker, right, shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, in Cleveland. — AP