NBA wrap: LeBron James triple-double, Kevin Love return powers Cavs past Bucks

Kevin Love made a valiant return Monday to help the Cavs past the Bucks.

LeBron James made a strong case for MVP Monday night while leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 124-117 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.   -  AFP

LeBron James made a strong case for MVP Monday night while leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 124-117 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

James scored 40 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double of the season. James also shot 16 of 29 from the field, using his strength and speed to consistently cut through Milwaukee defenders.

While James' triple-double was impressive, Cleveland fans were already excited before the game because forward Kevin Love (hand) returned after a 21-game absence. Love scored 18 points with seven rebounds in 25 minutes of action.

The Cavs, playing without head coach Tyronn Lue, who announced Monday he's taking a leave due to health issues, earned their third win in their last four games. It's been a roller-coaster season for Cleveland, but it appears on track to reach peak form at the right time.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 37 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Khris Middleton added 30 points, but it wasn't enough to help the Bucks avoid their eighth loss in their last 12 games.

Studs of the Night:

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid led the 76ers to a 108-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Simmons recorded his ninth triple-double of the season, scoring 11 points with 15 assists and 13 rebounds, while Embiid added 25 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks.

Dud of the Night:

Chicago Bulls guards Cameron Payne and Justin Holiday struggled in a 110-92 loss to the Knicks. Payne scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting, while Holiday scored zero points on 0-of-6 shooting. Chicago has now lost 10 of its last 14 games.

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