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Wizards hold off revamped Cavs, Sixers edge Bulls

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By: Agence France-Presse

The Cleveland Cavaliers returned from the NBA All-Star break with a thud Thursday, falling 110-103 to the Washington Wizards despite 32 points from LeBron James.

The Cavs hadn’t lost since trading half a dozen players and receiving four at the February 8 trade deadline, winning four straight heading into the All-Star break.

James, who earned his third All-Star Most Valuable Player award on Sunday in his 14th straight start in the mid-season exhibition, connected on 13 of 18 shots from the floor, pulled down nine rebounds and handed out eight assists.

He became the seventh player in NBA history with 11,000 career baskets, scoring Cleveland’s last 14 points in defeat.

The Cavs had led by 12 in the second quarter, but they finished just eight-of-35 from three-point range as the Wizards, still without injured five-time All-Star point guard John Wall, gained the win.

Bradley Beal scored 18 points to lead the Wizards, who are now just half a game behind Cleveland for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Trailing 82-79 going into the fourth period, Cleveland took an 89-88 lead on Kyle Korver’s three-pointer with 9:42 remaining.

But Washington scored nine straight points to regain the lead.

Tomas Satoransky, who has been starting in place of Wall since the star guard suffered a knee injury, scored 17 points with eight assists as the Wizards spoiled the home debuts for Cavs newcomers George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.

In Chicago, the Philadelphia 76ers reversed their recent road fortunes, but just barely, as they edged the Bulls 116-115.

Philadelphia’s Australian rookie Ben Simmons scored 32 points, draining two free-throws with 5.6 seconds left to put the 76ers up by one point after they had trailed by five with less than a minute remaining.

Simmons added 11 assists and seven rebounds for Philadelphia and Joel Embiid chipped in 30 points and 13 rebounds as the 76ers snapped a four-game road losing streak.

They hadn’t won away from home since beating the under-manned Spurs in San Antonio on January 26.

Chicago had a chance to win, but Bobby Portis — who led the Bulls with a carer-high 38 points — missed a jump shot in the final second and though the Bulls snagged the rebound they couldn’t make a shot.

The New York Knicks also won on the road, erasing an 11-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Magic in Orlando 120-113.

The Knicks, playing without injured All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, snapped an eight game losing streak, notching their first victory since January 30.

Reserve point guard Trey Burke scored a season-high 26 points to lead the Knicks, who had 23 points from forward Tim Hardaway Jr.