CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James had 25 points, 14 assists and narrowly missed his second straight triple-double, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Detroit 121-104 on Sunday night, sending the Pistons to their eighth straight loss.
Cleveland has won consecutive games for the first time since a five-game winning streak Dec. 9-17.
James was 8 of 15 from the field, 8 of 9 from the foul line and had eight rebounds. Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter broke a 95-all tie. James added two free throws and a three-point play, and J.R. Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers as Cleveland pulled away.
Kevin Love had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Smith, with his second strong game in a row, had 15 points.
Tobias Harris and Anthony Tolliver each scored 20 points for the Pistons, who continued to struggle despite several changes in the starting lineup by coach Stan Van Gundy. Detroit’s losing streak is the longest current stretch in the league.
The Cavaliers beat Indiana on Friday following a tension-filled week that included a heated team meeting, starting lineup change and persistent trade rumors.
Cleveland led by 10 points in the first quarter, but its inconsistent play surfaced again. Tolliver, added to Detroit’s starting lineup, hit five 3-pointers in the half. The Pistons led 61-58 at halftime.
In Houston, James Harden wasn’t sure if Houston’s first afternoon game of the season was to blame for the Rockets’ lack of energy.
“I don’t know, but it was pretty ugly,” Harden said. “We won, but it wasn’t pretty.”
Harden had 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Rockets to a 113-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Harden fell two assists shy of his third triple-double of the season.
The Rockets beat the Suns for the 14th time in their past 16 meetings, including seven straight. But after struggling to find a flow, making just 11 of 37 3-pointers (29.7 percent) and committing 12 turnovers, the Rockets knew something was off.