CLEVELAND (AFP) – Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and Kevin Love added 27 to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their fourth consecutive NBA victory, a 111-108 triumph Tuesday over Milwaukee.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James joined his “Big Three” partners with 26 points and a game-high 10 assists while Love grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds as the Cavaliers improved to 9-7.
Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 27 points while Jabari Parker added 22 as Milwaukee fell to 10-9.
Since James dubbed the Cavaliers “fragile,” the team has not lost a game and outscored foes by a combined 73 points during their win streak.
Deadlocked at 89-89 in the fourth quarter, Irving had a 3-point play and James followed with a layup for a 94-89 Cleveland edge. The Cavaliers stretched the margin as large as 103-95 before Milwaukee rallied within 104-101 on a Giannis Antetokounmpo layup with 26 seconds to play. James hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to keep the Bucks at bay to the finish.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, sidelined since October after surgery to repair a broken right foot, scored 27 points in his NBA season debut Tuesday, a loss at New Orleans.
Last season’s NBA Most Valuable Player suffered a broken bone at the base of the small toe during a pre-season exhibition game and in his absence the Thunder struggled to a 5-12 start.
Adding to Oklahoma City’s woes was the injury absence of blackcourt star Russell Westbrook, who only returned to the Thunder line-up last Friday.
But not even the potent pairing together was enough against New Orleans as Tyreke Evans scored a game-high 30 points, Anthony Davis added 25 points and 10 rebounds and Ryan Anderson came off the bench to score 23 points for the Pelicans.