CLEVELAND: LeBron James scored 27 points, and Kevin Love added 22 points and 15 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 115-100 on Thursday night. Cleveland ended a two-game losing streak and avenged a double-overtime loss in Milwaukee on Saturday night. The Cavaliers lead the Eastern Conference at 9-3. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 33 points for Milwaukee, and the Bucks rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second quarter to cut the lead to 84-79 late in the third.
Anderson Varejao, who came off the bench to score nine points, helped Cleveland build the lead to 97-84. James scored six points and Love had a three-point play in that stretch. JR Smith added 18 points for Cleveland. Antetokounmpo was 12 of 15 from the field and made all eight of his free throws. Greg Monroe scored 17 points, and Khris Middleton added 15 for Milwaukee.
WARRIORS 124, CLIPPERS 117
The Golden State Warriors erased a 23-point first-half deficit to stretch their NBA season-opening win streak to 13 games on Thursday with a 124-117 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The reigning NBA champions became just the fifth team in NBA history to open a season 13-0 and continued to close in on the record for the best start to a season of 15-0 — achieved by Washington in 1948-49 and the Houston Rockets in 1993-94.
But it was a close-run win, as the pumped-up Clippers raced to a big lead over their Pacific Division rivals, led by point guard Chris Paul. Paul, back in action after two games sidelined by a groin strain, made his first seven shots, including three from three-point range. He finished the game with 35 points and eight assists in 32 minutes on the floor. But Golden State, who trailed 55-32 early in the second quarter, battled back, with reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry scoring 13 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter.
“No matter how bad we’re playing, we always feel like we have a shot,” said Curry, who also pulled down 11 rebounds. “It was a hard-fought, gut-wrenching game that everybody stepped up and played well.” Guard Klay Thompson scored 25 points for the Warriors. Harrison Barnes added 21 and forward Draymond Green contributed 19 points and nine assists. Trailing 91-85 going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors shot 73.3 percent from the field in the final period. A three-pointer by Thompson gave the Warriors their first lead since the beginning of the first quarter — 113-112 with 2:43 to play.
The Clippers responded with a three-pointer by Jamal Crawford before Curry drained a three-pointer with 1:47 remaining that gave the Warriors a 116-115 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. The Warriors out-scored the Clippers 22-5 in the final stretch, but Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said his team’s problems began long before that. “I don’t think it started in the fourth quarter, I really don’t,” Rivers said.
“I thought right at the end of the second quarter was when we stopped playing with the same force that we played with the first quarter and a half.” It was the Warriors’ second win of the season over the Clippers, after a 112-108 triumph on November 4. “Like I said before the game, we know we’re close, but close isn’t good enough,” Rivers said. “You’ve got to finish the games.”
HEAT 116, KINGS 109
Chris Bosh had 23 points and 11 rebounds as Miami beat Sacramento, taking advantage of Kings star DeMarcus Cousins’ one-game suspension. Cousins, averaging 30.8 points in his last five games, was suspended for hitting Atlanta’s Al Horford in the head with a forearm Wednesday night in the Kings’ loss to the Hawks. The Kings are 0-5 without Cousins this season and 11-38 since he joined the team in 2010. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 24 points, and Tyler Johnson had 19. Sacramento’s Rajon Rondo had a season-high 18 assists, 14 points and nine rebounds after having three triple-doubles in his previous four games. Marco Belinelli led the Kings with 23 points. – Agencies