CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Love scored a season-high 28 points, Kyrie Irving added 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers 109-97 on Saturday night.
LeBron James added 19 points as Cleveland won its third straight game after losing four in a row and moved its record to 8-7. The Cavaliers have won the three games by an average of 23.3 points.
Love, who came into the game averaging 16.5 points, scored 16 in the first quarter. He made his first five shots, including two 3-pointers. Love, who also had 10 rebounds, was 9 for 13 from the field.
Irving added a season-high 10 rebounds and had five assists.
The Cavaliers built a 19-point lead in the first quarter, but the Pacers chipped away and trailed 52-49 at halftime. Cleveland regained control in the third, as James, who had eight points at the half, scored 11 in the quarter. The lead reached 20 points in the fourth quarter.
David West led Indiana with 14 points.
James appeared to injure his left wrist after being knocked to the floor while scoring in the lane in the third quarter but remained in the game.
James’ trickery brought the crowd to its feet in the opening period. After taking a pass from Shawn Marion, he motioned the veteran to run the baseline for a pass. Instead, he fired a no-look pass under the basket to Irving, who scored on a layup.
James stole the ball on Indiana’s next possession and drove in for a dunk that to put Cleveland ahead 22-6, forcing Indiana coach Frank Vogel to use his second timeout in the first 6:26.
The lead reached 27-8, but the Pacers went on a 13-0 run to get back in the game.
Cleveland led 29-21 after one quarter and built the lead to double figures again, but Luis Scola scored six points and West hit two jumpers to help Indiana cut the lead to three at halftime.
Love finished the half with 22 points, one shy of his season high. He hit a jumper and two free throws while Irving knocked down a 3-pointer as Cleveland built the lead to 67-54.
Love scored 42 points with 16 rebounds in his last game against the Pacers while playing for Minnesota last season.
Both teams played without their starting center. Indiana’s Roy Hibbert missed his fourth game in a row with a sprained left ankle while Anderson Varejao sat out with a rib contusion. Tristan Thompson replaced Varejao, making his first start of the season. He scored 13 points and had 11 rebounds in 38 minutes.
Solomon Hill added 13 for the Pacers, who are 6-4 since starting the season 1-6.
Pacers: Hibbert did some light pregame work Saturday, but told coach Frank Vogel that his ankle was “still tender.” Vogel said the team will not rush Hibbert back, but hoped he would return Tuesday against Phoenix. … G C.J. Miles, who played the last two seasons with Cleveland, scored six points. …. Indiana began a four-game trip Saturday. Its next home contest is Dec. 8 against Atlanta.
Cavaliers: Varejao is averaging 10.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and is third in the NBA with a 61 shooting percentage from the field. He participated in the morning shootaround, but still felt discomfort and was held out as a precaution, according to coach David Blatt. … Browns owner Jimmy Haslam attended the game…. Cleveland completes a five-game homestand Tuesday.
Pacers: At Phoenix on Tuesday.
Cavaliers: Host Milwaukee on Tuesday.
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