12 in a row for Cavs as Love, James gore Bulls

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LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James battles for the ball against Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday during the first half at United Center. -- KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI-USA TODAY SPORTS

CHICAGO — Kevin Love and LeBron James provided the firepower as the Cleveland Cavaliers notched their 12th straight win with a 113-91 blowout over the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

Love had 24 points and 13 rebounds while James weighed in with 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Cavs improved to 17-7.

Cleveland can equal their franchise record for consecutive victories if they beat Sacramento at home on Wednesday.

The Cavs also benefited from 24 points from Dwyane Wade while Jeff Green finished with 14.

Chicago, however, were left reflecting on a ninth straight loss which has seen them slip to 3-19.

Kris Dunn was their top-scorer with 15 points on a night when the home team got little change from the visiting Cavaliers.

Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday both scored 14 points for the Bulls, with Lauri Markkanen adding 13.

Holiday sank a buzzer beater to reduce the Cavaliers lead to 86-71 heading into the final quarter, but Cleveland upped the scoring pace to cruise home.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points but hobbled off with an injury as the Golden State Warriors mounted a second half comeback to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-115 in a bruising battle on Monday.

For the second time this season, the Warriors overturned a 20-point halftime deficit to clinch a decisive victory.

Monday’s win came at a cost though, with Curry leaving the court late in the game after suffering what looked like a nasty twist of his right ankle.

Curry limped off to the locker room for treatment with just under a minute left with the Warriors leading, 120-113.

Moments earlier, Warriors star Kevin Durant had been ejected for the third time this season after clashing with DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins appeared to connect with a glancing head-butt during an on-court confrontation before both players were tossed.

Durant’s ejection and Curry’s injury were the final twists of an absorbing encounter which saw the Pelicans surge into a 69-49 half-time lead at the Smoothie King Center in Louisiana.

Jrue Holiday led the scoring for New Orleans with 34 points with E’Twaun Moore adding 27 points.

Cousins had a double-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists but ultimately Golden State reeled in the Pelicans with a dazzling second-half display.

The Warriors won the third quarter 39-22 and outscored New Orleans 37-24 in the fourth quarter.

With Curry adding 31, Klay Thompson was the next highest scorer with 22.

Both Durant and Draymond Green had 19 points each. Green pulled down nine rebounds and contributed seven assists as the Dubs improved to 19-6.

Kyrie Irving led the way with 32 points as the Boston Celtics overcame a virtuoso performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo in a 111-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

Antetokounmpo top-scored with 40 points but Boston edged clear thanks to Irving and Al Horford, who weighed in with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics improved to 21-4.

Rookie Jayson Tatum added 17 — including 14 in a first quarter hot streak — while Aron Baynes also reached double digits with 10.

Irving made 13-of-24 from the floor, including 19 points in the second half.

Irving’s haul included a decisive run of five points in a row as Boston led by seven with around 1 minute and 30 seconds remaining.

The victory was Boston’s 11th in their last 12 home games.

Meanwhile, Greek star Antetokounmpo was left reflecting on a third straight 30-point game.

The 22-year-old small forward went 14-for-24 from the floor and also had nine rebounds, four assists and four turnovers.

Antetokounmpo was one of five Bucks players to reach double figures, with Khris Middleton adding 19, Eric Bledsoe 18, Nate Snell 11 and Malcolm Brogdon 10.

Devin Booker produced another bumper points spree as the Phoenix Suns claimed a deserved road victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

Booker, who scored 38 points in a losing display against the Boston Celtics on Saturday, exploded for 46 points as the Suns completed a 115-101 upset.

It was the second highest individual points total of the 21-year-old’s career following his 70-point display against Boston last season.

Booker shot 17 of 32 from the floor while draining five of eight three-point shots. Phoenix improved to 9-16 with the victory as the Sixers fell to 13-10.

Booker was backed by T.J. Warren, who bagged 25 points for the visitors.

J.J. Redick led the scoring for Philly, while Joel Embiid added 22 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double.

Australian star Ben Simmons finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Simmons said earlier he had felt “pretty sick” after coming down with symptoms of flu.

Phoenix were in control throughout, jumping into a 17-point lead in the first half before taking a 93-79 advantage with just over 11 minutes left.

A 13-point Redick blitz raised hopes of a Sixers fightback but two crucial Booker three-pointers gave Phoenix breathing space.

Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston was suspended for one game, while NBA game official Courtney Kirkland will be benched for one week after their on-court bust-up, the league announced Monday.

Livingston and Kirkland clashed during a disputed non-call in the second quarter of the Warriors’ blowout win over Miami on Sunday.

The duo bumped heads, leading to Livingston being handed a technical and tossed from the game. — AFP