CLEVELAND — Cavaliers forward LeBron James had 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists against his former team, guard Kyrie Irving had 15 points and six assists and Cleveland erased a Christmas Day loss to the Miami Heat with a 113-93 victory Wednesday night.
Forward Kevin Love had 12 points and six rebounds — one of seven Cavs players to score in double figures — but left the game in the third quarter with a right corneal abrasion. He was raked across the face by Heat guard Mario Chalmers while going for a rebound and dropped to the ground immediately, holding his eye and writhing in pain. He stood up after a few minutes and headed to the Cavs locker room and did not return to the bench area the rest of the night.
Love was expected to travel with the team Wednesday night to Chicago and will be further evaluated before his status for Thursday night’s game with the Bulls is determined.
Heat center Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Chalmers had 18 points and forward Chris Bosh had 15 points for the Heat, who have lost four of their last five while batting injuries.
The Cavs doubled up the Heat in the second quarter, building a 52-26 lead before relaxing for the final four minutes, allowing the Heat to pull within 10 late in the first half.
A jumper from James extended the lead back to 20 early in the third quarter, but the Heat again fought back to cut it to 75-63 on a 3-pointer from Chalmers with 3:34 left in the third. The Cavaliers’ lead, however, was never seriously threatened.
The Cavs lost by 10 in Miami in Christmas, but both teams looked vastly different. A pair of trades overhauled the Cavs’ identity in recent weeks, while Dwyane Wade’s hamstring injury prevented him from playing his good pal James.
James’ seven assists moves him into a tie with Hall of Famer John Havlicek for the second-most assists in NBA history by a forward. James now has 6,114 assists, trailing only Scottie Pippen (6,135).
NOTES: Heat C Hassan Whiteside was upset that his comment calling Cavaliers F LeBron James “a good player” received national attention. “You all just blew that up way out of proportion,” Whiteside said Wednesday morning. “I don’t got nothing to say.” … The Heat has already been forced to use 20 different lineups this season after they only used 21 all of last season. … Cavs G Matthew Dellavedova will replace Boston Celtics F Kelly Olynyk on the World team during the Rising Stars game Friday at All-Star weekend. … Cavs coach David Blatt will return to Israel during the All-Star break to see his wife and kids.
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