DENVER — LeBron James had 22 points and 11 assists, guard Dion Waiters had 17 points, including two big buckets late in the game, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Denver Nuggets 110-101 on Friday night.
Forward Kevin Love also had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, who ended a two-game skid.
Cleveland won the first and last game of its four-city road trip, which included back-to-back games against Portland and Utah.
The Cavaliers came into Denver struggling and searching for continuity. The addition of James and Love came with expectations of a deep playoff run. A 1-3 start made fans antsy and prompted James to channel Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with a tweet for people to “relax.”
Cleveland fans are probably feeling a little better about their team after Friday. The Cavaliers dominated for three and a half quarters until Denver cut a 21-point lead to six with 4:30 left.
They had a chance to make it a one-possession game but Waiters’ steal and layup followed by a 20-foot jumper made it 102-92 with 3:06 remaining.
The Nuggets got within seven but James scored on two drives to the bucket to seal the win.
Denver guard Randy Foye led all scorers with 28 points and added nine assists. Forward Wilson Chandler had 14 points and 10 rebounds and guard Nate Robinson also scored 14 points for the Nuggets, who have lost four straight.
The Cavaliers (2-4) didn’t commit their first foul until 37.9 seconds left in the first and didn’t get their second until 8:36 remaining in the second.
Denver, on the other hand, was whistled for 10 of the first 11 fouls, including Darrell Arthur’s Flagrant 1 and an automatic ejection with 4.4 left in the opening period.
It capped another poor first quarter for the Nuggets. They were outscored 40-19 in Sacramento in the first on Wednesday and lost by 25.
Denver (1-4) did make a run in the second. Robinson’s 3-pointer with 2:14 left in the half made it 51-42 but James scored five points in 11 seconds and Cleveland went into halftime leading 58-45.
NOTES: Nuggets G Ty Lawson was a late scratch from the lineup with left ankle soreness. Lawson was bothered by the ankle and a hamstring injury in preseason. He is averaging 12.5 points and 7.8 assists a game this season. … Cleveland G Kyrie Irving has scored 30 or more points 25 times in his career. … Nuggets F J.J. Hickson served the last of his five-game suspension for violation of the league’s anti-drug policy. He can return to action Sunday against Portland. … The Cavaliers have shot at least 85 percent from the line in their first four games. Overall, they lead the NBA in free-throw shooting.
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