Cava­liers hold off Bos­ton Celtics


Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Kyrie Irv­ing scored 32 points and made two crit­i­cal layups be­fore leav­ing with a leg in­jury and Kevin Love scored 30, help­ing the Cleve­land Cava­liers hold off a late rally for a 124-118 vic­tory over the Bos­ton Celtics on Thurs­day night. The Cavs led by 20 points in the third and 17 early in the fourth but couldn’t close out the Celtics, who pulled within one point three times in the fi­nal two min­utes. Irv­ing, though, came up with his big bas­kets and the Cavs had to fend off Bos­ton over the fi­nal 53 sec­onds as their star guard grabbed his right ham­string and went to the bench. His in­jury did not ap­pear to be se­ri­ous. LeBron James had 23 points and 11 as­sists for the Cavs, who won for the 11th time in 13 games. The only two losses dur­ing that stretch came at Mem­phis and Detroit - games James sat out. Isa­iah Thomas scored 31 and Avery Bradley had 23 but both play­ers were on the bench when the Celtics kept chip­ping away in the fourth.


Marc Ga­sol scored 25 points and Mem­phis took ad­van­tage of Rus­sell West­brook’s ejec­tion, dom­i­nat­ing Ok­la­homa City. West­brook, the NBA’s lead­ing scorer at 31.7 points per game, scored 21 be­fore he was tossed mid­way through the third quar­ter when he was whis­tled for two quick tech­ni­cals. At that point, Mem­phis al­ready held a dou­ble-digit lead that reached 37 points in the fourth quar­ter. Zach Ran­dolph added 21 points for the Griz­zlies. He and Ga­sol both grabbed eight re­bounds. Mem­phis reserve Troy Daniels shot 6 of 8 from 3-point range in the fourth quar­ter and scored all 22 of his points in the fi­nal pe­riod. Enes Kan­ter had 19 for the Thun­der, and Alex Abrines scored 10 as Ok­la­homa City set a sea­son low for points. West­brook had five re­bounds and no as­sists.


Eric Bled­soe scored 22 points and Devin Booker had nine of his 19 in the fourth quar­ter, help­ing Phoenix beat Toronto. The Rap­tors, in sec­ond place in the East­ern Con­fer­ence, lost con­sec­u­tive games for the first time since Nov. 20 and 21. Both teams played the sec­ond of back-to-back games, with the first be­ing on the road. The Rap­tors trailed for most of the sec­ond half and cut a 14-point deficit to 90-85 on a layup by DeMar DeRozan with 3:25 to play in the fourth quar­ter. But the Suns hung on, winning for just the sec­ond time in eight games. They have won back-to-back home games for the sec­ond time this sea­son. DeRozan and Kyle Lowry scored 24 points apiece for the Rap­tors.


Ni­co­las Ba­tum had 16 points, 13 re­bounds and eight as­sists, pro­vid­ing a spark dur­ing a big third quar­ter that car­ried Charlotte over Mi­ami. The Hor­nets outscored the Heat 31-17 in the quar­ter to take com­mand, with Ba­tum con­tribut­ing nine points, five re­bounds and four as­sists in the pe­riod. Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 22 points. The Hor­nets im­proved to 19-14, and have won five of their last six games. Josh Richard­son led Mi­ami with 20 points on 8-for-14 shoot­ing. The Heat fell to 10-23. The Hor­nets’ third-quar­ter dom­i­nance has be­come habit. One night ear­lier, they outscored the Or­lando Magic 35-13 in the pe­riod to grab a lead they held onto un­til the end.

JAZZ 100, 76ERS 83

Ge­orge Hill had 21 points in his re­turn to the lineup af­ter miss­ing 13 games with a sprained toe, and Utah blitzed Philadelphia in the fourth quar­ter. Gor­don Hay­ward and Rod­ney Hood each added 20 points for the Jazz (20-13), who outscored Philadelphia 30-9 in the fi­nal pe­riod. They shot 58 per­cent from 3-point range over­all to win their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game af­ter drop­ping three in a row. Er­san Ilyasova scored 16 points and Ner­lens Noel and Dario Saric both added 14, but the ane­mic fourth-quar­ter per­for­mance con­trib­uted to the 76ers’ fourth straight loss. Philadelphia, play­ing with­out lead­ing scorer and re­bounder Joel Em­biid, sur­pris­ingly led for most of the game be­fore the fourth-quar­ter col­lapse. The 76ers shot 4 for 23 in the fi­nal 12 min­utes.


CLEVE­LAND: LeBron James #23 of the Cleve­land Cava­liers looks for a pass while un­der pres­sure from Mar­cus Smart #36 of the Bos­ton Celtics dur­ing the sec­ond half at Quicken Loans Arena on Thurs­day in Cleve­land, Ohio.

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