OLANDO, December 27 – LeBron James scored 29 points, while Kevin Love added 22 as the Cleveland Cavaliers ripped Orlando 98-89 Friday.
James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player who left Miami last July to rejoin the Cavaliers, scored 15 points in the fourth quarter. Love sat out the entire final period as Cleveland snapped a three-game road losing streak.
The Cavaliers improved to 18-11, fifth in the Eastern Conference, while the Magic fell to 11-21, 12th in the East, with a seventh loss in nine games.
Dion Waiters came off the bench to score 17 points for the Cavaliers, who started Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova in place of compatriot Kyrie Irving, who did not play because of a bruised left knee.
Irving aggravated the injury Thursday in Cleveland’s loss at Miami in James’s first game before the fans he delighted with four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, two of them producing crowns.
Tobias Harris led the Magic with 16 points, while French guard Evan Fournier came off the bench to add 15 points.
Canadian Tristan Thompson, who replaced injured Anderson Varejao at center for Cleveland, grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Brazilian big man Varejao will miss the remainder of the NBA season after undergoing surgery to his left Achilles tendon.