CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 27 points, Kevin Love added 22 points and 15 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 115-100 on Thursday night.
Cleveland snapped 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.
J.R. 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.
James and Cavaliers coach David Blatt were critical of the team’s toughness after losing to the Bucks and Detroit Pistons, a game in which Cleveland blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
James set the tone early when he tore a rebound away from Antetokounmpo and went up for an easy basket.
Cleveland used a 27-11 run to take a 63-42 lead late in the second quarter. The Bucks cut into the lead throughout the third quarter, but the Cavaliers regrouped.
Jabari Parker returned after missing a game because of a sprained right foot and scored 14 points.
Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams missed the game because of a sore right leg and center Timofey Mozgov strained his right shoulder in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Bucks: O.J. Mayo made his season debut after missing the first 11 games because of a strained right hamstring. … Michael Carter-Williams picked up his fifth foul late in the third quarter and played 27 minutes, scoring nine points. …. The game was televised nationally by TNT, marking Milwaukee’s first regular-season appearance on the network in 13 years.
Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson played in his 300th consecutive game, the second-longest streak in the league. …. Matthew Dellavedova started at point guard and had a career-high 13 assists and three turnovers in 38 minutes.