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James helps Cavaliers rally past Magic 98-89

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — LeBron James had 29 points and eight assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to beat the Orlando Magic 98-89 on Friday night.

Kevin Love scored 22 points and reserve Dion Waiters added 17 for Cleveland, which bounced back from a 101-91 loss at Miami on Christmas. Tristan Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds.

The Cavaliers played without point guard Kyrie Irving, who was sidelined by a bruised knee.

Tobias Harris led Orlando with 16 points. Nik Vucevic had 12 points, seven assists and eight rebounds, and reserve Evan Fournier scored 15.

The Magic lost for the fifth time in the last six games.

Vucevic’s dunk with 1:58 left got Orlando within three, but the Magic were unable to score again.

James converted a three-point play with 40.7 seconds remaining, and then hit three foul shots to help close it out.

The Magic shot 59.6 percent through the first three quarters, but hit only 5 of 23 shots (23.8 percent) in the final period.

Cleveland used an 11-5 surge in the fourth to open a 92-85 lead on a 10-foot jumper from James. The four-time NBA MVP scored or assisted on 17 of the Cavs’ last 19 points.

Cleveland struggled for much of the game. In addition to Irving’s absence, center Anderson Varejao had surgery Friday to repair a torn left Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the season.

The Magic put together a 10-0 run to open a 74-65 lead with 2:34 left in the third quarter, punctuated by Fournier’s 3-pointer from the corner.

Orlando carried a 75-71 lead into the final period, but a 15-foot jumper by James and a 3-pointer from Mike Miller gave Cleveland an 84-80 advantage with 6:42 left.


Cavaliers: Love did not play in the fourth.

Magic: Harris and James each got a technical foul for tussle in the middle of the third quarter. … Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn, who didn’t make a 3-pointer his rookie year, is 6 for 16 from beyond the arc this season.


Cavaliers: Host Detroit on Sunday.

Magic: Visit Charlotte on Saturday night.

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