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LeBron misses fellow stars as Cavs lose

AAP logoAAP 5/01/2017

LeBron James was reminded what it's like to be Cleveland's only star.

Lonesome and no fun.

Jimmy Butler took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight points during a critical stretch as he led the Chicago Bulls to a 106-94 away win over NBA defending champions Cleveland, who had a less-than-100 percent James and were without fellow big guns Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

James, who has been battling a head cold for several days, was questionable until about 20 minutes before Wednesday night's game, when the Cavs announced he would be the one - and only - member of Cleveland's "Big 3" in uniform.

He finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes.

James was forced to go it alone for the eastern conference leaders as Irving missed his third straight game with a hamstring issue that appears to be more serious than first diagnosed and Love is still recovering from a nasty case of food poisoning which the team said came from eating sea bass on New Year's Eve.

James said there was never any question he would play.

"If I can walk, I can go," he said, "unless coach tells me to sit down. My plan was to play."

In New York, Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova was again sidelined as his Milwaukee Bucks won a 105-104 thriller against the New York Knicks to maintain their playoffs push.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo made a turnaround jumper at the buzzer to snatch the win, as he put his team ahead for the first time in the second half.

Dellavedova sat out again due to the hamstring strain he picked up in the win over Detroit last week.

Antetokounmpo finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and he also gave the Bucks a final possession when he knocked the ball off Derrick Rose and out of bounds with 8.6 seconds left.

The Bucks advanced their season win-loss record to 18-16 and sit in sixth spot in the eastern conference.

Carmelo Anthony had 30 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Knicks, who lost their sixth straight.

In Charlotte, Nicolas Batum had a season-high 28 points as his Charlotte Hornets beat the Oklahoma Thunder 123-112.

Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook had 33 points and 15 rebounds, but fell two assists shy of his 17th triple-double of the season .

In Orlando, Dennis Schroder scored 18 points, Dwight Howard had 13 points and 12 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks pulled away late in a 111-92 victory over the Orlando Magic for their fourth straight win.

Meanwhile in the late finishing game the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 125-117.

Stephen Curry had 35 points with five three-pointers and Kevin Durant scored 30 points and blocked three shots for the Warriors while C.J. McCollum scored 35 points to lead the Trail Blazers' efforts.

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