CLEVELAND — LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists; J.R. Smith had 22 points and six three-pointers; and the Cavaliers took care of one of the Western Conference’s top teams, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 115-102 on Thursday night.
Kevin Love added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavs, playing their first home game since being embarrassed in a 34-point loss to Golden State on Monday in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. They bounced back with a win at Brooklyn on Wednesday, but the Nets aren’t the Clippers, who came in 11-1 in their past 12.
Kyrie Irving had 21 points for Cleveland, which has won 13 of 14 against Los Angeles.
Chris Paul scored 30 and J.J. Redick 17 for the Clippers. Los Angeles made only six 3-pointers after knocking down 22 on Monday against Houston. The Clippers were again without star forward Blake Griffin (torn quadriceps).
In the second half, Cleveland intentionally fouled Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan, who went just 6 of 15 from the line.
The Clippers trimmed a 16-point deficit to six in the fourth, but Love and Smith made two 3-pointers apiece in a span of 2:08 to put the Cavs back in control.
Unlike some Cleveland fans, James, who was voted to the All-Star team for the 12th time in 13 seasons, didn’t overreact to the ugly loss against Golden State. He chalked it up to a bad night and said the Cavs simply needed to get better.
***PELICANS 115, PISTONS 99:
Anthony Davis scored 32 points and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Detroit Pistons 115-99 on Thursday night for their fourth victory in five games.
Tyreke Evans had 22 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, who raced to a 72-53 halftime lead and never allowed Detroit to get closer than nine points the rest of the way.
The game was the first for New Orleans since starting shooting guard Eric Gordon was ruled out for four to six weeks with a fractured ring finger in his shooting hand. Norris Cole was moved into the starting lineup and responded with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Ryan Anderson scored 13 points and Omer Asik added 12.
Andre Drummond had 19 points and 22 rebounds for Detroit, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 23 and Brandon Jennings 20.
**GRIZZLIES 102, NUGGETS 101:
Marc Gasol had 27 points, including a go-ahead three-point play with 12.2 seconds left, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 102-101 on Thursday night.
Mike Conley had 20 points as the Grizzlies won their fourth in a row in front of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
With Memphis trailing by one, Gasol hit a driving layup and was fouled. His free throw put Memphis ahead 100-98.
Danilo Gallinari, who led Denver with 17 points, missed a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left and Conley followed with two free throws.
**KOBE TOP ALL-STAR VOTE-GETTER:
Kobe Bryant is the leading vote-getter for his final NBA All-Star Game, and Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry made late moves to join him in the starting lineup.
Leonard will start in his first All-Star Game and Lowry will start on his home court in Toronto after both made up ground in the final days of voting on Thursday.
Nobody was catching Bryant, who had 1.9 million votes and was selected an All-Star for the 18th time.
“It’ll be a special All-Star because this is Kobe’s last run,” Miami’s Dwyane Wade said. (The Columbus Dispatch)
“Obviously, I wasn’t in the league and didn’t get a chance to see (Michael) Jordan’s, but I was watching as a fan and it looked like it would be something cool to be a part of. So this will be special.”
MVP Stephen Curry of Golden State was next with 1.6 million and they will be joined in the Western Conference lineup by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and Leonard, the San Antonio star who was more than 12,000 votes behind Golden State’s Draymond Green for the last front-court spot after the most recent returns.
Cleveland’s LeBron James and Indiana’s Paul George will start in the East frontcourt with New York’s Carmelo Anthony, who held off Chicago’s Pau Gasol by 360 votes.