CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 27 points to move into 21st place on the NBA’s career list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a 110-79 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
James, who has 24,508 career points, moved past Ray Allen with a layup in the third quarter. He was pulled with 4:41 remaining in the period and didn’t return, playing 26 minutes.
Kyrie Irving scored 18 points in his return after missing two games with a shoulder injury, and Kevin Love — who played despite missing the morning shoot-around due to illness — added 12 points.
The Cavaliers, coming off their first back-to-back defeats since early last month, went ahead midway through the first quarter and rolled to their 19th victory in the last 23 games. Cleveland hadn’t lost two in a row since a six-game skid Jan. 4-13. The Cavs have also won 12 straight at home.
Brandon Bass scored 15 points to lead Boston, which lost by its largest margin of the season.
James scored 21 points in the first half. He brought the crowd to its feet when he drove past Avery Bradley with a behind-the-back move for a dunk in the second quarter. The four-time MVP was 12 for 23 from the field.
Irving strained his left shoulder last week against Golden State and missed road losses to Indiana and Houston.
The Cavaliers trail second place Toronto by a game in the Eastern Conference. The teams play in Toronto on Wednesday.
James has scored 106 points in his last three games. He had 37 points in Sunday’s loss to Houston, but was 3 of 11 at the foul line, including two misses with 4.2 seconds left in overtime and the Cavaliers behind by a point.
The Celtics seemed to be suffering the effects of Sunday’s home loss to the Warriors in which they couldn’t hold a 26-point lead. Boston led briefly in the first quarter, but fell behind by double figures late in the first period.
Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 21.8 points in five games since being traded to Boston last month, was held to 11.
Celtics: Bradley missed a wide-open dunk in the first quarter, drawing a loud reaction from the crowd. … C Kelly Olynyk (sprained right ankle) played 3-on-3 at the morning shoot-around, but missed his 18th straight game. “He can move laterally fine, so I can’t imagine it’s going to be long until he’s back,” coach Brad Stevens said. … C Tyler Zeller spent his first two NBA seasons with the Cavaliers before being traded to Boston last summer.
Cavaliers: James’ season-low in minutes is 25 against Washington on Feb. 20. … James was 3 for 3 from the free-throw line after going 21 of 40 in his last five games. … C Kendrick Perkins scored five points, his first with the Cavaliers. … Cleveland hadn’t won 12 straight at home since winning 16 straight Feb. 11-April 12, 2009.
Celtics: Host Utah on Wednesday.
Cavaliers: At Toronto on Wednesday.
This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.