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James powers Cavs to 2-0 lead over Hawks

LeBron James scored 30 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers took total command of the Eastern Conference final even without injured star Kyrie Irving, beating the Atlanta Hawks 94-82 on Friday night in Atlanta.

In brief: J.R. Smith guides Cleveland Cavaliers to Game 1 win

NBA: J.R. Smith knocked down a tough 3-pointer, then another. Turning toward the fans, their heckling transformed to groans, he blew off his right index finger and motioned toward his side, like he was holstering his pistol. Yep, Smith was that hot.

In brief: Rockets rally from 19 back, force Game 7

NBA: Corey Brewer scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the Houston Rockets erased a 19-point, second-half deficit to stun the host Los Angeles Clippers 119-107 on Thursday night to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference semifinals. James Harden, who played less than a minute in the fourth quarter, scored 23 points — making all 11 of his free throws — and Dwight Howard added 20 points and 21 rebounds for the Rockets, who have won two straight games.

James does it his way, and it works

CHICAGO – LeBron James watched his coach draw up the final play – and then drew one up of his own. “Give me the ball and get out of the way,” he said.

LeBron may be more aggressive against Bulls in Game 2

LeBron James says he may have to change his mindset and be more aggressive in Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls. With the Cleveland Cavaliers missing starters Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, the Cavs dropped Game 1 on Monday. James scored 19 points and added 15 rebounds and nine assists, but he often deferred to others instead of driving to the basket and that may have to change if the Cavs intend to even the series at home tonight ( 4, TNT). Also, Bulls star guard Derrick Rose says he has no pain in his right shoulder and doesn’t expect any problems going into Game 2 tonight. Rose sustained a “stinger” in his shoulder late in the series opener. – AP

Cavs’ Kevin Love likely done for season with shoulder injury

Kevin Love spent all those long, losing seasons in Minnesota aching for a chance to be part of the NBA playoffs. His first foray into them lasted less than four games. Love (left) sustained “extensive” damage in his left shoulder and will likely miss the remainder of Cleveland’s playoff run, reducing The Cavs’ “Big 3” to a twosome. “We all have to pick our own game up,” said LeBron James, who along with Love and Kyrie Irving formed a trio capable of ending the city’s half-century title drought. “We can’t fill Kevin’s shoes, you can’t do that, he’s special for a reason.” Cavs general manager David Griffin said Tuesday the team doesn’t expect Love to return. Cleveland is waiting to see if it will play Chicago or Milwaukee in the next round. Griffin said the team is still gathering information and considering its options for treatment. – AP

Cavs clinch Central, wrap up No. 2 seed

NBA: Kyrie Irving scored 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers held on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 104-99 on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, clinching the Central Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James scored 21 points with nine rebounds and eight assists for the Cavs, including 10 points in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

In brief: Hawks pull away from Cavaliers

NBA: Al Horford scored 19 points and Kyle Korver hit two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter after struggling much of the night, leading the Atlanta Hawks to a 106-97 victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers in a game could be a preview of what’s to come in the playoffs. LeBron James and the Cavaliers entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Eastern Conference, but the Hawks are running away in the standings. They won their sixth in a row and for the 42nd time in the last 48 games.

In Brief: LeBron James leads red-hot Cleveland past Golden State

NBA: LeBron James scored a season-high 42 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the visiting Golden State Warriors 110-99 on Thursday night for their 18th victory in 20 games. James added 11 rebounds, outplaying fellow MVP candidate Stephen Curry and leading Cleveland past the team with the NBA’s best record for its 11th straight home victory.

Cavaliers GM: David Blatt is staying as coach

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said David Blatt will remain the team’s head coach and that no change will be made. Griffin, speaking to reporters before Sunday’s game against Dallas, called scrutiny about Blatt’s status “ridiculous” and said he isn’t giving the rookie head coach a vote of confidence because “he never needed one.” Griffin also took issue with reports that LeBron James, who is sidelined with knee and back soreness, is unhappy with Blatt and said the narrative about the coach’s job is over. “It’s a non-story,” Griffin said. “Coach Blatt is our coach. He’s going to remain our coach.” – Associated Press

LeBron James (knee, back) out for next 2 weeks

LeBron James has been diagnosed with left knee and lower back strains, injuries that are expected to keep him sidelined for the next two weeks and add to an already rocky time for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs said Thursday that James will be treated with “anti-inflammatories, rehabilitation, training room treatments and rest.” The four-time NBA MVP was examined on Wednesday. James has never missed more than five straight games in his career; if the two-week timetable holds up, his absence could reach 10 games or more. James has missed Cleveland’s past two games, and the Cavs are on a three-game losing streak. “There’s not going to be too much on the court for me right now,” said James, who has the league’s second-best scoring average this season at 25.2 points. – AP

James loses in return to Miami

MIAMI – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade wrapped each other in a pregame embrace, chatted and laughed at halftime, then hugged again after the final buzzer. Just like old times.

In brief: LeBron James, Cavaliers roll by Nets in front of Britain’s Prince William and wife Kate

NBA: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers turned a close game into a clinic after Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, grabbed courtside seats to watch them, beating the host Brooklyn Nets 110-88 on Monday night. Kevin Love was shooting free throws when the royal couple emerged from a tunnel with 7:14 remaining in the third quarter. Perhaps distracted by the loud roar, Love missed the second, leaving the game tied at 61.

Spurred on

LeBron James returned to Cleveland, Kevin Love joined him and suddenly the Cavaliers have the makings of the latest super team. The San Antonio Spurs are already one.

Protest at Cavs game

Several dozen anti-Israel protesters, many of them waving Palestine flags, gathered outside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland before the Cavaliers hosted Maccabi Tel Aviv. Holding signs that read: “Hold Israel Accountable” and “Boycott Israel,” the protesters chanted behind barricades set up across the street from the arena. Cleveland police, including several on mounted horseback, kept a watchful eye as fans made their way into the building Sunday for Cleveland’s first exhibition game, which the Cavs won 107-80. First-year Cavs coach David Blatt spent six seasons coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv, which won the Euroleague championship last year. – AP

LeBron James says another title likely would have kept him with Heat

In an interview to air today on CNN, LeBron James acknowledged that with three more victories in June he likely would have remained with the Miami Heat instead of signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in July as a free agent. In the interview with Rachel Nichols that airs at 7:30 p.m., James said a third consecutive Heat championship likely would have preempted his return to Cleveland. The Heat instead lost 4-1 in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs. “It’s a greater chance, for sure,” he said. “I mean, it would be hard to leave back-to-back-to-back championships and try to go for four.” He said seeking his third championship after switching teams will present new challenges. “I understand what it takes to win. It’s so difficult. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” – (Miami) Sun Sentinel

It’ll count to fans

Even a college football Saturday can’t get in the way of LeBron James’ first game against the Miami Heat. Even if it’s a game that doesn’t count. The NBA announced Monday that the Heat’s Oct. 11 exhibition against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Rio de Janeiro will be televised at 2 p.m. that Saturday on ESPN News. It will be James’ first game against the Heat in more than four years, having signed in July with the Cavaliers as a free agent. The NBA also announced that the Heat’s Oct. 21 exhibition against the Houston Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena would be televised by TNT at 5 p.m. – McClatchy

Lovefest: Kevin Love traded to Cavs, joins LeBron

Kevin Love is finally teaming up with LeBron James. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers completed a delayed blockbuster trade Saturday that’s been talked about for months and on hold for 30 days. Love (pictured), arguably the game’s best power forward, is headed from Minnesota to Cleveland, where he will join James and instantly make the Cavs an NBA title favorite. The Timberwolves are getting No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and former top pick Anthony Bennett from Cleveland and veteran forward Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia. The 76ers get a 2015 first-round draft choice from Cleveland, and guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute from Minnesota. Associated Press

NBA schedule since LeBron to Miami for Christmas

LeBron James will play his first game since rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Oct. 30 against New York, then return to Miami for the first time on Christmas. The NBA regular season will open Oct. 28, with the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks in one of the three games that night. The league released its schedule on Wednesday night, with James’ return to his original NBA team putting the Cavaliers in a number of prime positions. That includes the game at Miami in the third spot on the five-game Christmas schedule. James led the Heat to two championships and four NBA Finals appearances in four years there. – AP