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James paces Cavs over Celtics

BOSTON — No apologies. No retaliation. Just another Cleveland victory.

LeBron James scored 24 points and Kevin Love returned to Boston to score 20 with eight rebounds on Tuesday night, helping the Cavaliers beat the Celtics 89-77 in an uneventful rematch of last season's bruising — but one-sided — first-round playoff series.

It was Cleveland's first trip back to the new Boston Garden since Love's shoulder was yanked out of the socket by Boston's Kelly Olynyk in the finale of the Cavaliers' four-game sweep. Jae Crowder, who took a punch in the jaw from J.R. Smith in the series, scored 14 for the Celtics.

"Time heals all wounds," said Love, who had no exchange with Olynyk during the game. "I'll remember my first playoff run and that fourth game being particularly tough. But as time goes on it'll be another game against a really good team."

The midseason rematch was physical but without the rowdiness of the playoff series or even the emotion of Boston's double-overtime loss to the then-unbeaten Golden State Warriors last week.

"We knew it was going to be that type of game tonight, just coming off the playoff series that we had with them," James said. "And, it's our first time seeing them. We were able to answer the call."

Timofey Mozgov had nine points and a season-high 10 rebounds, scoring seven with five boards in the third quarter when Cleveland turned a five-point deficit into a 10-point lead. The Cavaliers have won three in a row since losing three straight to start the month.

Avery Bradley scored 17 points for Boston, which was back home for the first time since nearly ending the Warriors' unbeaten start. While that Friday night crowd had a playoff atmosphere — it's the NBA champion Warriors' only trip to Boston of the season — the visit by James and the Cavaliers was more subdued.

There were thousands of empty seats in the building at the opening jump, and while the arena eventually filled up, the excitement only lasted for three quarters.

KINGS 107, ROCKETS 97: At Sacramento, Calif., Sacramento star DeMarcus Cousins' manager was ejected for slapping at Rockets guard Jason Terry during the Kings' win. Trailing the play on a dunk by Sacramento's Ben McLemore, Terry put his hand out to slow down as he neared fans sitting along the baseline. Andrew Rogers, Cousins' manager, slapped at Terry's arm. Terry stopped, turned around and started to step toward Rogers, who was then ejected from his seat. Cousins had 26 points and 12 rebounds.

NUGGETS 112, TIMBERWOLVES 100: At Minneapolis, Randy Foye scored 19 points, and Denver picked up its sixth win in seven games. Kenneth Faried added 19 points and 10 rebounds, Will Barton had 14 points, seven boards and five assists, and the Nuggets shot 56 percent against the porous Timberwolves defense. Foye broke out of a season-long slump to hit 5 of 6 3-pointers, and the Nuggets hit 10 of 18 from deep as a team.

LAKERS 113, BUCKS 95: At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant had 22 points and six assists in Milwaukee's first game since ending Golden State's 24-0 start. D'Angelo Russell had 19 points and seven assists as the Lakers took a 22-point lead in the third quarter and cruised to their second victory in 15 games, improving to 4-21 in Bryant's farewell season. Michael Carter-Williams scored 19 points for the Bucks.

Cleveland forward Kevin Love shoots over Boston's Avery Bradley during the third quarter in Boston Tuesday. The Cavaliers triumphed, 89-77. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS