CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.
James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.
Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.
Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.
Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight.
Cleveland went ahead for good late in the first quarter and took its biggest lead of the half, 57-46, on Irving’s 3-pointer as the second quarter was winding down.
The Cavaliers took command soon after halftime. Irving hit another 3 and James scored on a breakaway dunk as Cleveland built a 68-50 lead.
James had eight assists and is four away from becoming the 16th player in NBA history to compile 7,000 in his career — and the first frontcourt player to reach the milestone.
Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith missed his second straight game because of a hyperextended left knee.
Miami, riddled with injuries, dressed eight players. Six players are on the injury list and the Heat announced before the game that forward Udonis Haslem was excused for personal reasons.
The Heat began an unusual reunion tour by facing James, who helped Miami win two NBA titles in his four seasons with the team. The trip will continue Saturday when they play in Chicago against Dwyane Wade, who signed with the Bulls in the offseason.
Goran Dragic scored 15 points for Miami. Hassan Whiteside, who spent most of the third quarter on the bench, had eight points and 12 rebounds. Whiteside entered averaging 17.6 points and 14.7 rebounds.
Heat: No Miami player who dressed for the game was teammates with James when he played for the Heat from 2010-14. … Miami has lost eight of 11.
Cavaliers: Reserve F Channing Frye has been excused from the team to attend his father’s funeral. Frye also missed time earlier this season following the death of his mother. … G DeAndre Liggins started in place of Smith, who could return Saturday against Charlotte.
Heat: Miami will play Chicago for the second time this season Saturday. The Bulls beat the Heat 98-95 on Nov. 10 in Wade’s return to South Florida.
Cavaliers: Charlotte visits on Saturday. Cleveland has five straight home wins over the Hornets, including a 100-93 victory on Nov. 13.
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