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LAL

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LeBron's 31 put Lakers past Cavs 128-99 for 9th straight win

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kevin Love and LeBron James hadn't played against each other since before they got together on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 for a memorable four-year partnership.

After their first meeting since James moved to the West Coast ended in a blowout win for the Lakers, they got together on court with Tristan Thompson to renew a friendship that's bigger than the game.

''That's a brotherhood,'' Love said. ''That's a bond that can never be broken. You saw Tristan and myself out there with him. That's something we'll always remember and kind of take to our graves. He's my brother for life, and it is weird playing against him.''

These three champions' connection is rock-solid, even after a game that demonstrated why only James is contending for another ring this year.

James scored 23 of his 31 points in a dominant second half, and Dwight Howard added season highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds in Los Angeles' ninth consecutive victory, 128-99 over the Cavs on Monday night.

The powerhouse Lakers posted their highest-scoring half in 33 years while scoring 81 in the second half behind James, who added eight assists while passing Isiah Thomas for sole possession of eighth place on the NBA's career list.

James led Los Angeles to its third straight win without Anthony Davis, who is out with a bruised backside.

''Defensively, we got stops, and we had great pace,'' James said. ''Even when they scored, we got the ball out and continued to play with pace. We played with a lot of balance.''

James hasn't been gone from Cleveland long enough to forget about his connection with Love or his spirited practice competitions with Thompson. The Cavaliers who stayed behind recognize their old teammate's steady brilliance, but they also see the improved aspects to James' ever-evolving game.

Thompson guarded James for long stretches, just like he would in scrimmages back in Cleveland. James still went 12 for 16, and he quarterbacked the Lakers' up-tempo offense to perfection in the second half.

''He made some 3s to get himself going, but he did a good job of getting his teammates involved,'' Thompson said. ''I accept the challenge. It's fun playing against the best player of our generation, and probably one of the best of all time. I love it.''

Love had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland in the third stop of a six-game road stretch. Two days after the Cavs posted a surprising win at powerhouse Denver, they couldn't keep up with a franchise icon who hasn't slowed down.

Returning from a one-game absence with an apparent case of the flu, James improved to 2-0 against the Cavaliers since he departed for the second time in 2018. James had 32 points and 14 rebounds in his return to Cleveland in November 2018, and he was injured last January when the Cavs beat the Lakers at Staples Center.

Thompson had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, while Collin Sexton and Darius Garland added 16 points apiece.

Cleveland jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half while most of the Lakers played listlessly, but Los Angeles ran away from the middle of the second quarter onward.

''When the pendulum began to swing, we couldn't stop it,'' Cleveland coach John Beilein said. ''LeBron took charge, just like he always has for a long time.''

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Former Lakers F Larry Nance Jr. missed his sixth straight game with left knee soreness, but Beilein is hopeful Nance will return during their road trip. ... Beilein said he has known for ''a couple of weeks'' that first-round pick Dylan Windler would miss the entire season due to a stress reaction in his lower left leg. The Cavaliers announced Windler's yearlong absence Monday. ''Would have been a great addition for us,'' Beielein said. ''Feel bad for him, but he'll be almost like another first-round draft pick next season.''

Lakers: Veteran G Rajon Rondo also missed the game with an injured finger. ... James and Avery Bradley both played despite the flu. Bradley scored 12 points. ... Danny Green had 10 points in his return from a one-game absence with a sore right hip.

AD'S PROGRESS

Davis is close to returning after his scary fall last week in a home game against New York, coach Frank Vogel said. The six-time All-Star missed the Lakers' road games at Dallas and Oklahoma City last weekend, and his return could depend on his pain tolerance.

Davis felt good enough to make a quick trip Sunday to Lambeau Field, where he and JaVale McGee watched the Packers beat the Seahawks. Davis is a Chicago native, but he wore an Aaron Rodgers jersey to support Green Bay.

Vogel said his players cleared the trip with the Lakers, who had the day off Sunday and didn't hold a shootaround Monday morning.

LEBRON'S ASSISTS

James, passed Thomas with his 9,062nd assist during the third quarter. He is the NBA's leader with a career-best 10.7 assists per game while molding himself into a virtuoso playmaker alongside Davis.

DWIGHT'S DOMINANCE

Howard capped another outstanding game in his bounce-back season with his ninth career 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

''He was a monster tonight,'' Vogel said.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Stay in Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Tuesday night.

Lakers: Host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:46   Avery Bradley missed jump shot  
11:42   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
11:23 +2 Kevin Love made jump shot, assist by Collin Sexton 2-0
11:00   Kyle Kuzma missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:57   Defensive rebound by Tristan Thompson  
10:51 +2 Darius Garland made finger-roll layup 4-0
10:33   Kyle Kuzma missed fade-away jump shot  
10:30   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
10:10   Tristan Thompson missed hook shot  
10:07   Defensive rebound by Avery Bradley  
10:02   LeBron James missed layup  
10:00   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
9:55 +2 Tristan Thompson made dunk, assist by Darius Garland 6-0
9:41 +2 Avery Bradley made layup, assist by JaVale McGee 6-2
9:24 +2 Collin Sexton made layup, assist by Kevin Love 8-2
9:15   Avery Bradley missed jump shot  
9:12   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
9:05   Cedi Osman missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:02   Defensive rebound by JaVale McGee  
8:43 +3 Avery Bradley made 3-pt. jump shot 8-5
8:23 +2 Tristan Thompson made layup, assist by Cedi Osman 10-5
8:23   Violation  
8:13 +2 LeBron James made finger-roll layup 10-7
7:55   Kevin Love missed dunk, blocked by JaVale McGee  
7:55   CLE team rebound  
7:52   Cedi Osman missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:48   Defensive rebound by Kyle Kuzma  
7:33   Kyle Kuzma missed jump shot  
7:30   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
7:28   Out of bounds turnover on Darius Garland  
7:16 +2 LeBron James made jump shot, assist by Kyle Kuzma 10-9
6:55   Offensive goaltending turnover on Tristan Thompson  
6:42   LeBron James missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:41   CLE team rebound  
6:22 +2 Kevin Love made turnaround jump shot 12-9
6:03   Avery Bradley missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:00   Defensive rebound by Cedi Osman  
5:51   Personal foul on JaVale McGee  
5:41   Collin Sexton missed floating jump shot  
5:39   Defensive rebound by JaVale McGee  
5:21   Bad pass turnover on LeBron James, stolen by Tristan Thompson  
5:18   Offensive foul on Tristan Thompson  
5:18   Turnover on Tristan Thompson  
5:07 +2 Avery Bradley made reverse layup, assist by JaVale McGee 12-11
4:44 +2 Cedi Osman made fade-away jump shot 14-11
4:44   Shooting foul on Kyle Kuzma  
4:44 +1 Cedi Osman made free throw 15-11
4:28 +2 Avery Bradley made layup, assist by Dwight Howard 15-13
4:23   Personal foul on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope  
4:11   Alfonzo McKinnie missed jump shot  
4:07   Defensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
3:55   Kyle Kuzma missed jump shot  
3:53   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
3:48 +3 Kevin Love made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Brandon Knight 18-13
3:33 +2 Dwight Howard made alley-oop shot, assist by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 18-15
3:12 +2 Kevin Love made jump shot, assist by Tristan Thompson 20-15
2:59   Kyle Kuzma missed floating jump shot  
2:57   Defensive rebound by Tristan Thompson  
2:42 +2 Darius Garland made jump shot, assist by Kevin Love 22-15
2:28 +2 Dwight Howard made layup, assist by Alex Caruso 23-17
2:28 +2 Dwight Howard made layup, assist by Alex Caruso 22-17
2:07   Kevin Love missed fade-away jump shot  
2:03   Defensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
1:51   Quinn Cook missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:48   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
1:37 +2 Tristan Thompson made layup 24-17
1:28   Personal foul on Alfonzo McKinnie  
1:12   Kyle Kuzma missed running Jump Shot  
1:08   Defensive rebound by Darius Garland  
1:01 +3 Cedi Osman made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Alfonzo McKinnie 27-17
0:56   Personal foul on Darius Garland  
0:56 +1 Alex Caruso made 1st of 2 free throws 27-18
0:56 +1 Alex Caruso made 2nd of 2 free throws 27-19
0:38   Brandon Knight missed jump shot  
0:35   Defensive rebound by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope  
0:29   Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:26   Defensive rebound by Alfonzo McKinnie  
0:10   Darius Garland missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00 +2 Kyle Kuzma made jump shot, assist by Quinn Cook 27-21
0:00 +2 Kyle Kuzma made jump shot, assist by Alex Caruso 27-21

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:30   Darius Garland missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:28   Defensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
11:23   Jared Dudley missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:18   Defensive rebound by Dante Exum  
11:12 +3 Cedi Osman made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Darius Garland 30-21
10:56   Offensive foul on LeBron James  
10:56   Turnover on LeBron James  
10:35   Cedi Osman missed floating jump shot  
10:34   CLE team rebound  
10:34   Personal foul on Jared Dudley  
10:26 +2 John Henson made dunk, assist by Darius Garland 32-21
10:09   LeBron James missed jump shot  
10:05   Offensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
10:05   Dwight Howard missed dunk  
10:10   Offensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
10:08   Dwight Howard missed layup, blocked by Alfonzo McKinnie  
10:04   Offensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
10:04   Offensive foul on Dwight Howard  
10:04   Turnover on Dwight Howard  
9:54 +2 Darius Garland made fade-away jump shot 34-21
9:42   Lost ball turnover on LeBron James, stolen by Darius Garland  
9:37   Out of bounds turnover on Darius Garland  
9:29   Personal foul on Alfonzo McKinnie  
9:19 +2 Dwight Howard made dunk, assist by LeBron James 34-23
9:16   Turnover on John Henson  
9:09   Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed jump shot  
9:07   Defensive rebound by Cedi Osman  
8:56   Kevin Love missed turnaround jump shot  
8:53   Defensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
8:49   Quinn Cook missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:44   Defensive rebound by Cedi Osman  
8:25   Shooting foul on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope  
8:25 +1 Kevin Love made 1st of 3 free throws 35-23
8:25 +1 Kevin Love made 2nd of 3 free throws 36-23
8:25 +1 Kevin Love made 3rd of 3 free throws 37-23
8:08 +2 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made driving layup, assist by Jared Dudley 37-25
7:49   Personal foul on LeBron James  
7:42   Traveling violation turnover on Collin Sexton  
7:30 +2 Alex Caruso made jump shot, assist by Jared Dudley 37-27
7:05   Cedi Osman missed floating jump shot  
7:02   Offensive rebound by Tristan Thompson  
7:02 +2 Tristan Thompson made dunk 39-27
6:48 +3 Jared Dudley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 39-30
6:23   Collin Sexton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:22   Defensive rebound by Alex Caruso  
5:58 +2 Jared Dudley made floating jump shot, assist by LeBron James 39-32
5:37   Traveling violation turnover on Tristan Thompson  
5:23 +2 Dwight Howard made dunk, assist by Alex Caruso 39-34
5:14   Personal foul on Avery Bradley  
5:02 +2 Collin Sexton made hook shot 41-34
4:42   Jared Dudley missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:38   Offensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
4:32 +2 Danny Green made reverse layup, assist by Alex Caruso 41-36
4:22   Kevin Love missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:20   Defensive rebound by Dwight Howard  
4:12   Avery Bradley missed jump shot  
4:10   Defensive rebound by Alfonzo McKinnie  
3:59   Personal foul on Jared Dudley  
3:59 +1 Collin Sexton made 1st of 2 free throws 42-36
3:59 +1 Collin Sexton made 2nd of 2 free throws 43-36
3:47   Shooting foul on Alfonzo McKinnie  
3:47 +1 Danny Green made 1st of 2 free throws 43-37
3:47   Danny Green missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
3:43   Defensive rebound by Tristan Thompson  
3:27   Kevin Love missed hook shot  
3:26   Offensive rebound by Kevin Love  
3:23   Alfonzo McKinnie missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:19   Defensive rebound by Avery Bradley  
3:15 +2 Kyle Kuzma made floating jump shot 43-39
2:58   Darius Garland missed driving layup  
2:53   Offensive rebound by Tristan Thompson  
2:53 +2 Tristan Thompson made dunk 45-39
2:50   Bad pass turnover on Alex Caruso, stolen by Darius Garland  
2:45   Out of bounds turnover on Kevin Love  
2:37 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 45-41
2:16   Cedi Osman missed driving layup  
2:16   CLE team rebound  
2:16   Personal foul on Avery Bradley  
2:16   Tristan Thompson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
2:16   CLE team rebound  
2:16 +1 Tristan Thompson made 2nd of 2 free throws 46-41
2:10   Shooting foul on Kevin Love  
2:10 +1 LeBron James made 1st of 2 free throws 46-42
2:10 +1 LeBron James made 2nd of 2 free throws 46-43
1:58   Collin Sexton missed reverse layup, blocked by Kyle Kuzma  
1:55   Defensive rebound by JaVale McGee  
1:51   Avery Bradley missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:46   Offensive rebound by Danny Green  
1:42   Danny Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:35   Offensive rebound by Kyle Kuzma  
1:34 +2 Kyle Kuzma made dunk 46-45
1:18 +2 Tristan Thompson made dunk, assist by Darius Garland 48-45
1:00   Shooting foul on Darius Garland  
1:00   Danny Green missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:00   LAL team rebound  
1:00 +1 Danny Green made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-46
0:38   Collin Sexton missed jump shot  
0:36   Offensive rebound by Tristan Thompson  
0:36   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
0:32   Kyle Kuzma missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:29   Defensive rebound by Collin Sexton  
0:06   Lost ball turnover on Tristan Thompson, stolen by Danny Green  
0:04   Personal foul on Collin Sexton  
0:04   Kyle Kuzma missed 1st of 2 free throws  
0:04   LAL team rebound  
0:04 +1 Kyle Kuzma made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-47
0:00   Collin Sexton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   CLE team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:40   Bad pass turnover on Kevin Love, stolen by JaVale McGee  
11:32 +2 Danny Green made floating jump shot 48-49
11:07   Collin Sexton missed layup  
11:05   Defensive rebound by JaVale McGee  
11:01   Danny Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:58   Defensive rebound by Cedi Osman  
10:55   Bad pass turnover on Cedi Osman, stolen by Danny Green  
10:52 +2 LeBron James made alley-oop shot, assist by Danny Green 48-51
10:35 +2 Kevin Love made jump shot, assist by Tristan Thompson 50-51
10:19   JaVale McGee missed floating jump shot  
10:16   Defensive rebound by Collin Sexton  
10:07   Collin Sexton missed driving layup, blocked by JaVale McGee  
10:04   Defensive rebound by Avery Bradley  
9:49 +2 Kyle Kuzma made floating jump shot, assist by LeBron James 50-53
9:31 +2 Darius Garland made driving layup 52-53
9:23 +2 Danny Green made reverse layup, assist by LeBron James 52-55
9:06   Kevin Love missed jump shot  
9:05   CLE team rebound  
8:58   Kevin Love missed reverse layup  
8:54   Offensive rebound by Tristan Thompson