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Love, LeBron lead Cavs to easy NBA win

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016

The Cleveland Cavaliers showed they can beat the Memphis Grizzlies with only two of their three NBA stars.

Now they'll try to do it with none.

Kevin Love scored 29 points, JR Smith found his aim - for one half - and LeBron James added 23 points as the Cavs won their fifth straight, 103-86 on Tuesday night over Memphis.

With Kyrie Irving sitting out to get some rest, the Cavs built a 22-point lead in the first half and ended the Grizzlies' six-game winning streak.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue opened his news conference by announcing that James, Love and Irving will stay home when the Cavs travel to Memphis on Wednesday.

"They're not going," Lue said before telling one surprised reporter to close his mouth.

Lue didn't want James, who travelled to New York on Monday night to accept the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award, playing in the quirky back-to-back, and Love could use a break because of tightness in his back.

Irving complained of "heavy legs" in Saturday's win over Charlotte and will have a full week off before the Cavs host the Lakers on Saturday.

"It's a long season and we have opportunities," James said of Lue's decision to keep Cleveland's "Big 3" behind.

"Coach has looked at it and he's going to do what's in his best judgement for our team going into the future. It's his call."

Smith said it will be a challenge to take on the Grizzlies undermanned.

"It's going to be tough," he said.

"But we have good players and we will figure it out, hopefully. Everybody has to be themselves - nobody can be LeBron, Ky and Kev. Should be fun."

Memphis rested centre Marc Gasol for the first of back-to-back games against the defending NBA champions, but the 7-foot-1 star is expected to play Wednesday.

The Grizzlies were still within eight when James scored on a lay-up and hit a cutting Love for an easy bucket to make it 90-74 with 5:11 left.

Stephen Curry scored 30 points and Kevin Durant added 27 to go with a big block on Anthony Davis in the final minute as the Golden State Warriors held off the New Orleans Pelicans 113-109.

In Atlanta, Serge Ibaka led Orlando with 29 points in the Magic's 131-120 win over the Hawks.

Minnesota defeated Chicago 99-94 with Zach LaVine scoring 24 points for the Timberwolves.

While Eric Bledsoe scored the go-ahead points on a driving, left-handed lay-up with 30 seconds to play and the Phoenix Suns beat New York 113-111 in overtime in only the Knicks' second loss in eight games.

In the late game, Damian Lillard had 17 points and nine assists as the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 114-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Russell Westbrook was off his league-leading average of 31.1 points a game with 20 for the Thunder, who have lost two of their last three after a six-game winning streak.

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