Love and james put the heat on Miami

LeBron James of Cleveland going up for a basket against his former team Miami. The Cavaliers defeated the Heat 102-92 with James netting 29 points and Kevin Love weighing in with another 24.
LeBron James of Cleveland going up for a basket against his former team Miami. The Cavaliers defeated the Heat 102-92 with James netting 29 points and Kevin Love weighing in with another 24.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Westbrook, Durant sizzle with 91pts as Thunder edge out Magic in double OT

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • It did not take long for the Cleveland Cavaliers to figure out how to lean on their star forward for victories.

Not that one, the other one.

LeBron James had insisted for days that Kevin Love will be the focal point of the offence this season.

On Friday, against the Miami Heat, he showed why.

Love scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and James added 29 points in a 102-92 win over his former team in the Cavs' home National Basketball Association opener.

Love has had double-doubles in his last two games, and his consecutive three-pointers late in the third quarter gave the Cavaliers some space after the Heat closed to three points.

"He showed why he's one of the best power forwards in our league," James said. "We need to continue to ride his coat-tails."

James and Love continued to flash terrific chemistry in the early part of the season after struggling to fit together at times last year. Love has been much more aggressive since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, getting into the lane and attacking the basket.

He approached James during the summer in Los Angeles before signing his five-year extension and told James he wanted a bigger role on this team. Now, he has got it.

"I knew I'd be looking at different spots on the floor," he said.

"I welcome that."

Dwyane Wade scored 25 points and Chris Bosh had 16 points and five rebounds for the Heat.

Hassan Whiteside scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked six shots.

The Heat scored just one basket through the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing the game to slip out of reach.

The meeting between James and his former team did not carry quite the same buzz as it did last season, although James acknowledged games against the Heat will always be special to him.

Cavs coach David Blatt was hopeful games between these teams will soon reach a level of normalcy.

"There was such a buzz (last season)... I never felt like we were just playing the game," he said.

"And that's what we need to do. Despite the fact that there's history, obviously, a year has gone by. We need to get out there and play basketball and leave the rest of that for you guys to have fun with."

All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had plenty of fun in Orlando as they delivered a classic performance, scoring a combined 91 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a thrilling 139-136 double-overtime victory over the feisty Orlando Magic.

Westbrook had 48 points and Durant 43, the third time they each scored at least 40 in the same game - a first in NBA history.

"Sometimes, you just have to let the big dogs run," said Durant, who missed 55 games last season with ankle and foot injuries.

"That was fun out there tonight. Russell was almost super-human."

Westbrook banked in a 38-foot desperation shot with 0.7 of a second left in regulation to force the first extra period.

The Thunder had been behind by up to 18 points in the fourth quarter. But they never trailed in either of the two overtime periods.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 01, 2015, with the headline 'Love and james put the heat on Miami'. Print Edition | Subscribe