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NBA capsules: Isaiah Thomas has stellar return as Cavs beat Blazers

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 2, 2018, 10:30 p.m.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaiah Thomas is congratulated by teammates as he walks to the bench in the second half of Tuesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers in which Thomas played for the first time this season. (Tony Dejak / Associated Press)
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaiah Thomas is congratulated by teammates as he walks to the bench in the second half of Tuesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers in which Thomas played for the first time this season. (Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

CLEVELAND – Isaiah Thomas showed flashes of what made him an All-Star in his long-awaited Cleveland debut as the Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 127-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Thomas scored 17 points and played 19 minutes in his first game in seven months, an impressive return to action for the dynamic point guard. Thomas added three 3-pointers and three assists before leaving with 8:10 left and the Cavs up by 12.

LeBron James scored 24 points, Kevin Love had 19 and Jae Crowder added 15 for the Cavs, who were coming off losses at Golden State, Sacramento and Utah.

Damian Lillard scored 25 for the Blazers after missing five games with a hamstring injury. Jusuf Nurkic added 23 and CJ McCollum had 19 for Portland.

The Cavs were unable to separate from the Blazers until Thomas and Dwyane Wade teamed up in the fourth quarter.

SPURS 100, KNICKS 91

NEW YORK – LaMarcus Aldridge scored 29 points, Kawhi Leonard had a season-high 25 and San Antonio beat New York to give Gregg Popovich sole possession of fifth place on the NBA’s coaching wins list.

Manu Ginobili finished with 12 points – three of them coming on what appeared to be a pass that went into the basket without everyone noticing.

Popovich has 1,176 victories, all with the Spurs. The five-time champion broke a tie with his friend George Karl.

The Spurs beat the Knicks for the second time in six days and won for the fourth time in five games. They beat New York 119-107 on Dec. 28.

Michael Beasley had 18 points for the Knicks, who were playing one of just four home games this month. They play 12 times on the road.

Kristaps Porzingis shot just 5 for 19 and was one of three Knicks to finish with 13 points.

SUNS 104, HAWKS 103

PHOENIX – Devin Booker sank three free throws to put Phoenix ahead with 12.3 seconds to play, Marquese Chriss blocked Taurean Prince’s shot at the rim with 7 seconds to go and the Suns rallied from down 10 in the final 2 1/2 minutes to beat Atlanta.

Booker scored eight of his 34 points in the final 37 seconds as the Suns finished with a 15-4 run. T.J. Warren scored 31 and Chriss had 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks for Phoenix.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points for Atlanta. Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder added 20 apiece.

Bazemore made 7 of 8 shots, including 4 of 5 3-pointers, but he fouled Booker on a 3-point attempt with the Hawks clinging to a two-point lead.

Booker made all three to put the Suns on top 102-101. Prince then got free for what looked to be an open layup, but Chriss came from the other side of the court to block the shot.

HORNETS 131, KINGS 111

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Dwight Howard had 20 points and eight rebounds, Kemba Walker added 12 points and 10 assists and Charlotte built a big early lead and beat Sacramento.

Nicolas Batum scored 21 points, Jeremy Lamb added 16, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams had 10 points apiece to help the Hornets to their third consecutive win in Sacramento.

Charlotte came in as one of the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting teams but repeatedly got open looks from beyond the arc, especially in the first half when the Hornets made 10 of their season-high-tying 15 3s. Lamb and Batum made three apiece to pace the outside shooting.

Four days after stunning Golden State to begin their four-game trip, the Hornets set season highs in scoring and for points scored in the first half (72). Charlotte’s previous high was 129 points in an overtime win over Washington on Nov. 22.

Zach Randolph had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Sacramento. Skal Labissiere added 17 points and a career-best 15 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost five of six.

CLIPPERS 113, GRIZZLIES 105

LOS ANGELES – Lou Williams scored 33 points off the bench to lead to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their fourth consecutive win, beating Memphis.

Blake Griffin added 21 points for the Clippers, including five down the stretch after the Grizzlies had erased most of an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit to close within 103-101.

Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds. Mario Chalmers had 15 points off the bench.

Rookie C.J. Williams added a career-high 18 points for the Clippers, who shot 54.9 percent from the field.