Cavaliers warm up for Warriors clash with win
LeBron James scored 34 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers held on to beat Chicago 115-112 yesterday morning (Singapore time) and end the Bulls' seven-game NBA winning streak.
Cleveland, playing their last game before their highly anticipated NBA Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, had to make do without ailing coach Tyronn Lue and injured shooting guard J.R. Smith.
But in a contest that featured 26 lead changes, James scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers held on for a 12th straight home win.
Kevin Love added 27 points and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Channing Frye, in the starting line-up in place of Smith - a late scratch with a sore knee - scored just two points.
But Kyle Korver contributed 15 off the bench and Dwyane Wade and Jeff Green added 10 apiece for a Cavs team that has racked up at least 100 points in 26 straight games and won 19 of their last 21.
Chicago's Denzel Valentine drove for a lay-up that cut Cleveland's lead to 113-112 with 14.3 seconds left.
But James answered with two free-throws and after a Bulls time-out, Wade blocked Kris Dunn's three-point attempt and Valentine came up short on a three-point effort in the final second.
Meanwhile, Michael Beasley was the unlikely hero in the New York Knicks' upset of NBA Eastern Conference leaders Boston, coming off the bench to inspire a 102-93 triumph over the Celtics. - AFP
Philadelphia 109 Toronto 114, NY Knicks 102 Boston 93, Phoenix 97 Memphis 95, Utah 100 San Antonio 89