NEW YORK: Kevin Love scored 17 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers got back to winning ways on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) with a comfortable 91-78 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Still smarting from a humiliating 132-98 home defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Monday, the Cavs rebounded to score an emphatic victory at the Barclays Center.
Love, who also had 18 rebounds, completed his 19th double-double by halftime while LeBron James finished with 18 points.
James also contributed five assists before sitting out the final 12 minutes as Cleveland eased to victory.
The win saw Cleveland improve to 29-11 and they continue to lead the Eastern Conference standings.
Brooklyn meanwhile fell to 11-32 for the season as they slumped to their ninth defeat in 10 games.
Center Brook Lopez led the Nets with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Thaddeus Young added 14 points before fouling out.
The tone for the match was set by James, who scored six points in an 8-0 run early in the first quarter. Cleveland steadily extended their lead, going 51-38 up at halftime and retaining a healthy 73-55 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Two emphatic dunks by Tristan Thompson and a finger roll by J.R. Smith effectively sealed victory midway through the fourth quarter, putting the Cavaliers ahead 85-62.
Warriors roll on
While the Cavaliers rebounded, the Warriors produced another scintillating performance in a blowout win on the road over the Chicago Bulls.
Steph Curry poured on 25 points with 11 assists in a 125-94 victory at the United Center in Chicago.
Klay Thompson had 20 points while Harrison Barnes had 19 for the Warriors, who boosted their record to 39-4. Chicago, ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference, fell to 24-17 after the defeat.
The Toronto Raptors remain the closest challengers to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference after a 115-109 defeat of the Boston Celtics.
DeMar Rozan scored 34 points for the Raptors as Toronto stretched its unbeaten streak to six games.
“When it’s going well you really don’t pay attention to it until after the fact and realize everything was feeling good,” DeRozan said.
Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Canadians.
The worst team in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile gave their fans a rare reason to smile with a 96-87 defeat of the Orlando Magic in Florida.
Rookie center Jahlil Okafor scored 20 points while reserve forward Hollis Thompson chipped in 17 as the Sixers notched their first victory in the Eastern Conference to score only their sixth win of the season.
“We’re getting better every game now,” Okafor said. “You can see the progress.”
Newly signed point guard Ish Smith, who weighed in with 13 points and 11 assists, agreed. “This team is just growing up now,” said Smith. “This was another big step. The next step is learning how to lock down and finish games like this consistently. We’re moving in that direction.”
An injury depleted Miami Heat—missing Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic—slumped to a 106-87 defeat at Washington.
It got worse for the Heat when center Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng both exited the game with injuries.
The mood was summed up by Miami star Chris Bosh in comments to reporters afterward.
“Somebody get a violin before you ask a question,” he joked. “Get a nice little medley going in A-minor. A-minor is a sad note, right?”