CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 27 points to move into 21st place on the NBA’s career list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a 110-79 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
James, who has 24,508 career points, moved past Ray Allen with a layup in the third quarter. He was pulled with 4:41 remaining in the period and didn’t return, playing 26 minutes.
Kyrie Irving scored 18 points in his return after missing two games with a shoulder injury, and Kevin Love — who played despite missing the morning shoot-around due to illness — added 12 points.
Brandon Bass scored 15 points to lead Boston, which lost by its largest margin of the season.
HAWKS 104, ROCKETS 96
ATLANTA (AP) — Jeff Teague scored 25 points, Al Horford added 18 and NBA-leading Atlanta rallied from 18 points down to win its fifth straight.
James Harden, the league’s leading scorer, was serving a one-game suspension and did not play for Houston, but the Rockets led for the most of the game until Teague’s 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining put Atlanta up 91-90.
Houston forced a couple of ties in the closing minutes, but never regained the lead.
Jason Terry finished with 21 points in a reserve role and starting forward Terrence Jones had 18 points for Houston, which was attempting to match its season high with a sixth straight victory.
NUGGETS 106, BUCKS 95
DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 26 points, Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 14 rebounds and Denver won hours after Brian Shaw was fired as coach.
Ty Lawson had 16 points and 10 assists for Denver, which ended a six-game losing streak and won at home for the first time since Jan. 14.
Shaw was fired after 1 1/2 seasons with the team at 20-39. Assistant coach Melvin Hunt was named interim head coach.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 20 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost five of six.
Denver led by six after three quarters and started the fourth on an 11-2 run to go up 87-72.
HORNETS 104, LAKERS 103
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Al Jefferson had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Mo Williams added 20 points and 13 assists and Charlotte won for the third time in four games.
Williams, who came in averaging 23.4 points in his first five games since being acquired from Minnesota, had his third double-double with the Hornets. He knocked down a big 3-pointer with a minute to play to push the lead to six and added five free throws in the final 18 seconds to seal the win.
Gerald Henderson added 21 points, including several key baskets late in the fourth quarter. Cody Zeller had 10 points and 11 rebounds as all five Charlotte starters finished in double figures.
Jeremy Lin led the Lakers with 23 points off the bench, while Jordan Clarkson had 19.
KINGS 124, KNICKS 86
NEW YORK (AP) — Rudy Gay scored 25 points, DeMarcus Cousins had 22 and Ben McLemore finished with 20 as Sacramento handed New York its worst loss of the season.
The Kings scored the first four points and never trailed. They built the lead to 16 after the first quarter and to as many as 30 in the second.
Alexey Shved led the Knicks with 15 points. Jason Smith and Shane Larkin had 13 each.
After shooting only 35 percent (7-for-20) from the field in the first quarter, the Knicks were even worse in the second, going 6 for 24 (25 percent).
Their previous worst loss was by 28 points to Charlotte, 110-82, on Jan. 10.
JAZZ 93, GRIZZLIES 82
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors scored 21 points each, Rudy Gobert added 15 points and a career-best 24 rebounds to lead Utah to its third straight win.
Rodney Hood finished with 13 points for Utah, shot 45 percent.
Courtney Lee led Memphis with 18 points, while Marc Gasol finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Rookie Jordan Adams added 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting, while Mike Conley scored 11, but was 4 of 11 from the field.
The Grizzlies, who have lost three of four, were short-handed with starting forward Zach Randolph and reserve guard Beno Udrih out with illness, and defensive stalwart Tony Allen suspended for the game due to a violation of team policy.
BULLS 97, WIZARDS 92
CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Mirotic scored 23 points to lead short-handed Chicago past Washington.
The Bulls were without former MVP Derrick Rose (right knee), All-Star Jimmy Butler (left elbow), and trusted reserve Taj Gibson (left ankle), but still managed to improve to 4-2 on their season-high seven-game homestand.
Aaron Brooks scored 22 points while Pau Gasol had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who had five players in double figures.
Chicago’s starting lineup of Brooks, Tony Snell, Mike Dunleavy, Gasol and Joakim Noah was the 20th it has used this season. That’s the most since 2007-08, when the Bulls also used 20.
Washington was led by John Wall’s 21 points and 11 assists.