Cavs edge Heat without Love

Friday, February 02, 2018

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — LeBron James scored 24 points and came up with a crucial late block as the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Miami Heat 91-89 on Wednesday in a duel for third place in the NBA's Eastern Conference.

“King” James prevented James Johnson from getting a shot off at the final buzzer as Cleveland held on for the win in their first game since Kevin Love was sidelined with a broken hand.

Love is expected to miss six to eight weeks — just more bad news in a tough January for the Cavs, who finished the month with a 6-8 record.

Jae Crowder drained a three-pointer from a James assist with 1:21 left to play to give Cleveland a three-point lead.

Miami's Josh Richardson answered with a floater with a minute remaining before Cleveland's Isaiah Thomas made two free-throws to build the margin to 90-87 with 18.8 seconds to play.

Kelly Olynyk's lay-up trimmed the deficit to one point with 12.1 seconds remaining. With seven left, Cleveland's Kyle Korver made the first of two free throws and Johnson, with James defending him, was unable to release the potential game-tying jump shot before time expired.

Elsewhere, the Orlando Magic rebounded from a heartbreaking loss to the Houston Rockets with a 126-105 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was a blowout in Boston, where the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics overcame the absence of Kyrie Irving to down the New York Knicks 103-73.

In Portland, C J McCollum scored 50 points to lead the Trail Blazers to a 124-108 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

In Phoenix, a horrifying broken left ankle to Suns reserve guard Isaiah Canaan overshadowed the hosts' 102-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

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