NBA wrap: LeBron James steps up to lead Cavaliers past Heat

Playing without Kevin Love, the Cavaliers used stifling defense to defeat the Heat.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James drives past Miami Heat's Tyler Johnson in the second half of an NBA game.   -  AP

The Cavaliers has endured a tumultuous stretch, but LeBron James helped lead them to a 91-89 win over the Heat on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Even though the Cavaliers shot 35 percent from the floor — its worst in a regular-season win since James returned to Cleveland — and were able to stifle the Heat defensively, limiting Miami to 10.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

James scored a game-high 24 points with 11 rebounds and five assists. He also had seven turnovers, but led Cleveland down the stretch.

Read: Wizards tops Thunder for second straight win

Channing Frye came off the bench to score 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Frye, who also snagged four rebounds, re-entered the rotation with the Kevin Love injury. Isaiah Thomas continued his struggles, scoring just 13 points on 2-of-15 shooting (0 for 6 from 3-point range).

Goran Dragic led the Heat with 18 points and six assists. Hassan Whiteside, who has become the subject of trade rumors, added nine points and eight rebounds.

Cleveland has now won three of its last four games, while the Heat remain fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

STUDS OF THE NIGHT

C.J. McCollum recorded his first-career 50-point game in a 124-108 win over the Bulls. McCollum broke a Trail Blazers franchise record with 28 points in the first quarter, and never really slowed down. He shot 18 of 25 from the field. McCollum also became the first player since Klay Thompson to score 50 points in less than 30 minutes.

Also read: Not many ripples now, but don’t rule out whirlpools!

Celtics guard Terry Rozier scored 17 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 103-73 win over the Knicks. Earning a rare start, Rozier completed his first triple-double of the season.

DUD OF THE NIGHT

76ers forward Robert Covington was a do-it-all type player last season, racking up stats on both ends of the court. He was quiet Wednesday, though, scoring just six points in 32 minutes while failing to accumulate more than one rebound, assist, steal or block. Philadelphia lost 116-108 to the Nets.

HIGHLIGHT

Kemba Walker was hot from beyond the arc. Walker made nine 3-pointers en route to 38 points in a 123-110 win over the Hawks.

What's Next

Rockets (36-13) at Spurs (34-19) — Winners in six of its last seven games, the Rockets have rediscovered its offensive form after a brief lull. James Harden is playing at an MVP level, and Chris Paul has settled in nicely to compliment Harden in the backcourt. Injuries have derailed San Antonio's momentum, but Dejounte Murray is an exciting player.

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