CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James scored a season-high 42 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 110-99 on Thursday night for their 18th victory in 20 games.
James added 11 rebounds, outplaying fellow MVP candidate Stephen Curry and leading Cleveland past the team with the NBA’s best record for its 11th straight home victory.
Curry scored 18 points, but had only six after the first quarter and was 5 of 17 from the field. David Lee led Golden State (44-11) with 19 points.
James was out with knee and back injuries when the teams met Jan. 9, a 112-94 win for Golden State. Although the four-time MVP hit 15 of 25 from the field Thursday, the back apparently is still an issue. James stretched out on the floor instead of sitting on the bench when he had a rest in the fourth quarter.
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 24 points, left the game in the third quarter with an injury to his left shoulder, but returned early in the fourth.
Meanwhile in Phoenix, Russell Westbrook scored 39 points in his 12th career triple-double but missed what would have been the game-tying layup with 5.7 seconds left in overtime, and Phoenix snapped Oklahoma City’s seven-game winning streak with a score of 117-113. In an intense matchup of point guards, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe just missed a triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Westbrook missed his first eight shots and finished 12 of 38, 1 of 10 from 3-point range, but scored 31 in the second half and overtime
of his fourth triple-double this season.
Markieff Morris scored 29 for the Suns, who pulled within 1½ games of the Thunder for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.