NBA Cavs win tune-up before holiday
Love’s 14 and 15 help Cavs roll
LeBron James and the Cavaliers look ready for the marquee matchup in the NBA this season, a Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors.
James scored 19 points, Kevin Love added 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Cleveland rolled past the Brooklyn Nets, 119-99 on Friday night.
Cleveland, which has won four straight and nine of 10, hosts Golden State on Sunday in a rematch of the last two NBA Finals. The defending champion Cavaliers (22-6) never trailed against the Nets and built a 46-point lead in the third quarter.
The postgame talk focused more on Sunday — which marks the second straight year Cleveland and Golden State have played on Christmas — than the rout of the Nets.
“It’s great,” James said. “Christmas Day for our fans is the biggest day for our season, besides we have All-Star and then finals. I’m happy I’m part of it once again.”
The lopsided margin gave the Cavaliers a chance to rest their stars heading into Sunday’s showdown. James, Love and Kyrie Irving, who had 13 points and 10 assists, were all removed with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter and Cleveland leading 90-48.
“There will definitely be high emotions in both locker rooms,” Irving said. “That’s a given. If you’re not getting up for this game, all the great players who will be on the floor at one time, you shouldn’t be in there.”
Tristan Thompson, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds, was also taken out late in the third.
Love returned after missing two games because of a bruised left knee.
Brook Lopez scored 16 points for the Nets, whose first possession of the game ended when Justin Hamilton’s pass sailed into the third row of the seats. They have lost five straight, including games on back-to-back nights against the Warriors and Cavaliers.