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CLEVELAND (AP) – One game off and few days of rest refreshed the Cavaliers’ Big 3.
LeBron James scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving matched a career high with 12 assists, Kevin Love scored 27 with 17 rebounds and Cleveland finally put away Los Angeles in the fourth quarter, beating the young Lakers 119-108 on Saturday night.
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, who complained of tired legs before a game last week, looked more like himself in his first game since Dec. 10, finishing with 21 points as the Cavs improved to 19-6.
“It was just a needed rest for me,” said Irving, who didn’t get a break after Cleveland won the NBA title in June because he played for the US Olympic team. “For me, it’s just about being smart and not running into that wall completely. I’m able to push through anything and my mind commands my body at the same time, it’s still about being smart.”
James, Irving and Love combined for 74 points, 30 rebounds and 25 assists.
James took over in the fourth and needs just two points to move past Moses Malone (27,409) for eighth place on the career scoring list.
Nick Young made eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 32 for the Lakers, who were a headache for the defending NBA champions all night. The Lakers were still within 110-105 when James hit a 3-pointer in transition as the Cavs closed with a 10-3 run.
THUNDER 114, SUNS 101
Russell Westbrook had a career-high 22 assists in his 50th triple-double, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Phoenix Suns 114-101 on Saturday.
Westbrook also had 26 points and 11 rebounds in his 13th triple-double of the season. He had gone three games without one, yet the league’s leading scorer continues to average double figures in points, rebounds and assists.
Steven Adams had 19 points and seven rebounds and Enes Kanter added 12 points for Oklahoma City, which had dropped two in a row. Thunder guard Victor Oladipo, the team’s No. 2 scorer for the season, missed his third straight game with a right wrist sprain.
HORNETS 107, HAWKS 99
Marvin Williams and Marco Belinelli each scored 19 points as Charlotte snapped a four-game losing streak.
Kemba Walker had 18 points and 10 assists for Charlotte, which grabbed control with a big second quarter. Cody Zeller finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points for Atlanta and Paul Millsap scored 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter. Dwight Howard grabbed a season-high 23 rebounds, three shy of his career best.
The Hawks have lost five of six at home and 12 of 16 overall, a freefall since starting the season 9-2 and tying for the Eastern Conference lead.
PACERS 105, PISTONS 90
Paul George scored 26 points and Jeff Teague added 19, helping Indiana to the road win.
The Pacers had six players score in double figures and shot 48 percent from the field while stopping a two-game slide. Glenn Robinson III had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young also scored 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 20 points for Detroit and Reggie Jackson finished with 19 points and 10 assists.