NBA Game Summary - Sacramento at Cleveland
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers lineup and scored 19 points, and Cleveland used balanced scoring to top the Sacramento Kings 101-90, extending its season-long winning streak.
Kevin Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 21 points with six assists. Irving carried the load offensively in Cleveland's win over Portland on Wednesday, netting a career-high 55 of the team's 99 points.
James, who missed that game with a wrist injury, also contributed seven assists and four steals, and J.R. Smith added 16 points.
"It feels okay. A little sore obviously, but it feels good," said James. "I do whatever it takes to help us win. I just try to get guys involved, pick my spots."
The Cavs have ripped off nine straight wins since a six-game skid.
DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 21 points and 13 rebounds just hours after it was announced that he would make his first appearance in the All-Star game. Cousins will replace injured Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who had season- ending shoulder surgery.
Rudy Gay chipped in 20 points in Sacramento's eight straight setback.
"We never really got into a good rhythm," said Kings coach Tyrone Corbin.
Ben McLemore's 3-pointer highlighted a 7-0 Sacramento run midway through the first to tie the game at 16. From there, Cleveland scored eight unanswered points and 14 of the next 16, taking a 30-20 lead into the second quarter.
The spread reached 16 late in the second, but Cousins hit a pair of free throws and Darren Collison beat the buzzer with a deep 3 to cut it to 55-44 at the half.
Irving connected on all four of his shots in the third for 10 points to help Cleveland push its lead to 86-65.
After Sacramento opened the fourth on a 6-2 run, James brought the crowd back to life with a highlight-reel transition layup, going behind his back after picking up his dribble with Ramon Sessions closely contesting.