CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 29 points, including 16 in the first quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers broke a four-game losing streak with a 106-74 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
After bluntly assessing his own play at Monday’s shootaround, saying, ”I stink,” James took control early and sparked his team to a much-needed comfortable win.
After averaging 18.5 points and shooting 41 percent from the field in the losing streak, James was 9 for 17 from the field Monday and tied a season-high with 11 assists while not playing the fourth quarter.
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James hit four shots from the field, including a 3-pointer, made all seven of his free throws and had four assists in the opening period. He finished the first half with 22 points, including a fadeaway jumper from the top of the key to end the second quarter.
Anderson Varejao scored 14 points while Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving each added 12.
CLIPPERS 113, HORNETS 92
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Blake Griffin had 22 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, Chris Paul had 22 points and a season-high 15 assists and Los Angeles handed Charlotte their sixth straight loss.
Griffin was 10 of 23 from the field and finished one assist shy of a triple-double.
The Clippers were 15 of 32 from 3-point range, while the Hornets were just 2 of 20. Jamal Crawford had 21 points and J.J. Redick added 17 and the sharp-shooting duo combined to go 9 of 17 from beyond the arc.
Paul came in averaging had 9.5 assists for the Clippers (8-5).
Cody Zeller led the way for Charlotte with a career-high 17 points off the bench. Al Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Kemba Walker added 15 points for the Hornets (4-11), who have lost eight of their last nine games.
TRAIL BLAZERS 114, 76ERS 104
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 of his 33 points during the pivotal third quarter to help Portland defeat Philadelphia, sending the 76ers to their 14th straight loss to open the season.
Wesley Matthews added 17 points, Damian Lillard had 16 and Robin Lopez chipped in 12 for Portland (11-3), which won its eighth in a row.
Michael Carter-Williams led Philadelphia (0-14) with 24 points.
The 76ers moved within one loss of matching the franchise mark for consecutive losses to begin a season and will look to avoid an 0-15 opening when they host Brooklyn on Wednesday. They also are just four losses from tying the 2009-10 Nets, who set an NBA record by beginning the season 0-18. If the losing continues, Philadelphia could break the NBA record for losses to start the season on Dec. 5 when hosting Oklahoma City.
RAPTORS 104, SUNS 100
TORONTO (AP) -Jonas Valanciunas had a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan scored 23 and Toronto won their fifth straight game, beating Phoenix Suns 104-100.
Lou Williams scored 17, Kyle Lowry had 14 and Terrence Ross added 13 for the Raptors, who improved 9-1 at home and 4-0 against Western Conference opponents.
Eric Bledsoe scored 25 points and Markieff Morris had 17 for the Suns, whose four-game winning streak was snapped. Phoenix had not lost since the opening game of their six-game road trip, Nov. 15 against the Clippers.
Isaiah Thomas scored 12 of his 16 in the fourth quarter and Gerald Green had 13 for Phoenix, but made a costly turnover in the final seconds.
ROCKETS 91, KNICKS 86
HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden had 36 points to lead the depleted Houston to a victory over slumping New York Knicks.
Houston (11-3) played without center Dwight Howard (knee) and point guard Patrick Beverley (hamstring), but Harden had half of the Rockets’ 14 3-pointers to overwhelm the Knicks, who played the second half without star forward Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony left the game with less than two minutes remaining in the first half and did not return, suffering from back spasms, the team said. Anthony had 14 points.
Jose Calderon and Travis Wear both had 9 points for the Knicks (4-11), who fell to 1-6 on the road and suffered their 10th loss in the last 12 games. Despite leaving so early in the game, Anthony led Knicks scorers, and none of his teammates scored double figures.
Six other players scored at least 8 points, including five bench players. The Knicks made only two field goals in the final five minutes of the game.
PACERS 111, MAVERICKS 100
DALLAS (AP) – Donald Sloan scored 29 points and seven Indiana players scored in double figures in a victory over Dallas.
The Pacers led the entire second half, and set a season high in points and equaled their season high in field-goal percentage (48.1).
Indiana got a double-double from Luis Scola, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Solomon Hill and Rodney Stuckey each scored 12 points, while Chris Copeland and Damjan Rudez each had 11, and Ian Mahinmi added 10.
Mahinmi made his first start of the season with center Roy Hibbert sidelined with a sprained ankle.
The Mavericks, who have lost two straight, were led by Monta Ellis with 24 points.
Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points and team-high 11 rebounds. Chandler Parsons scored 16 and Devin Harris 13.
BULLS 97, JAZZ 95
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -Jimmy Butler scored 25 points and Pau Gasol added 23 points and nine rebounds to lead Chicago to a victory over Utah.
Derrick Rose scored 18 points in his return to the Bulls’ lineup. Chicago beat the Jazz for ninth time in the last 12 games between the two teams.
Derrick Favors scored 21 points and pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds for Utah, which rallied from a 21-point deficit, but couldn’t close it out. Enes Kanter had 19 points and eight rebounds while Trey Burke had 18 and 10 assists.
Utah took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter when Trevor Booker made a layup to put the Jazz up 80-78.