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Love helps Cavs beat former team

CLEVELAND — Kevin Love's first meeting with his former team wasn't packed with much emotion.

LeBron James expects a much different reunion on Christmas.

Love scored 20 points in his first game against Minnesota, Kyrie Irving added 29 and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away in the second half for a 125-104 victory over the Timberwolves on Tuesday night, sending them on to James' holiday visit in Miami to play the Heat.

Love's matchup with the team he spent six frustrating seasons with before a summer blockbuster trade was overshadowed by an injury to Cleveland center Anderson Varejao, who had to be helped off the floor in the third quarter. Varejao was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was assisted to the locker room.

The Cavs won't know more about Varejao's injury until today. He left Quicken Loans Arena on crutches with his leg in an immobilizing air cast.

James added 24 points for the Cavs, now 12-3 since opening 5-7.

Minnesota rookie Andrew Wiggins scored 27 against the team that drafted him as the Timberwolves lost their sixth straight and 12th in 13 games.

Wiggins was taken with the first pick in this year's draft by the Cavaliers before he was packaged along with former top pick Anthony Bennett and sent to Minnesota for Love, who joined James and Irving to give Cleveland a "Big Three" capable of winning an NBA title.

Love, who grabbed 10 rebounds and played much of the second half with his right thumb taped, said the matchup against the Timberwolves lacked passion.

"I didn't really feel much of anything to be honest with you," he said. "It felt like just another game. It was a game we felt like we needed to win before going to South Florida for Christmas."

LAKERS 115, WARRIORS 105: At Los Angeles, Carlos Boozer scored 18 points in his new role off the bench, and Los Angeles shocked league-leading Golden State without Kobe Bryant.

The NBA’s No. 3 career scorer sat out for the first time this season to rest his tired legs, a decision made by coach Byron Scott.

Stephen Curry had 22 points and six assists for the Warriors, who lost for only the fourth time in their first 27 games.

BULLS 99, WIZARDS 91: At Washington, Derrick Rose scored 25 points and Pau Gasol had 18 as Chicago won its fourth straight.

After Washington scored 12 straight — 10 by John Wall — to take an 87-86 lead with 3:44 remaining, Chicago steadied and scored eight straight, six by Rose, to lead 94-87 with 1:48 to play.

HAWKS 107, CLIPPERS 104: At Atlanta, DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 25 points and Atlanta rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat Los Angeles for its fifth straight victory.

Al Horford had 20 points for Southeast Division-leading Atlanta, which has won 14 of 15.

76ERS 91, HEAT 87: At Miami, Michael Carter-Williams scored 20 points, Luc Mbah a Moute added 19 and Philadelphia erased a 23-point, second-half deficit.

K.J. McDaniels scored 13 for the 76ers, who’ve won two straight for the first time all season. Jerami Grant and Robert Covington each had 11 for Philadelphia.

SUNS 124, MAVERICKS 115: At Phoenix, Eric Bledsoe got his second career triple-double and Phoenix won its fourth in a row in its highest-scoring game of the season.

Bledsoe had 16 points and 11 assists, then grabbed his 10th rebound away from teammate Goran Dragic with 31 seconds to play.

NETS 102, NUGGETS 96: At New York, Joe Johnson scored 27 points, Mason Plumlee added 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and Brooklyn rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Denver.

Jarrett Jack, who started in place of injured point guard Deron Williams, had 17 points and eight assists.

MAGIC 100, CELTICS 95: At Orlando, Fla., Tobias Harris scored 19 points and Orlando hung on to beat Boston.

Nik Vucevic and Kyle O’Quinn each added 18 points as Orlando ended a four-game losing streak.

PACERS 96, PELICANS 84: At Indianapolis, George Hill scored 15 points in 21 minutes after missing the first 28 games with a left knee injury, leaving Indiana over New Orleans.

Anthony Davis scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Pelicans.

HORNETS 108, BUCKS 101: At Milwaukee, Kemba Walker scored 27 points and Gerald Henderson added 16 as Charlotte held off Milwaukee for its season-high fourth straight victory.

Brandon Knight had a season-high 34 points for the Bucks, who were prevented from matching last season’s victory total of 15.

Cleveland's Kevin Love hits the floor in the first quarter against Minnesota Tuesday. It was his first game against his former team. AP PHOTO