Love scores 27 points, as Cavaliers surprise Nuggets again

Cleveland sweeps season series from Denver

Love scores 27 points, as Cavaliers surprise Nuggets again
Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers' Matthew Dellavedova (18) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 104-102. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (Source: Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Love scored 27 points, hitting the go-ahead basket with four minutes remaining, and the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers surprised the Denver Nuggets for the second time this season, 104-102 on Saturday night.

Collin Sexton also scored 27 points and Matthew Dellavedova had a career-high 14 assists to help Cleveland end a four-game losing streak.

The Cavaliers, playing without center Andre Drummond and rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., went on 10-0 run after trailing 93=92.

Tristan Thompson missed two free throws with 20 seconds left, but Jamal Murray missed a fadeaway baseline jumper as time ran out.

The Cavaliers have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, but beat the Nuggets, who have the third-best record in the West in both meetings this season. Cleveland won 111-103 win in Denver on Jan. 11.

Love and Dellavedova hit key 3-pointers when Cleveland built its late lead. Dellavedova, starting for the second straight game with Garland out, sparked a third-quarter surge with lob passes that resulted in dunks on consecutive possessions by Thompson and Alfonso McKinnie. .

Sexton continued his hot hand after scoring a career-high 41 points against Boston on Wednesday night. The second-year guard was 11 of 19 from the field.

Will Barton led Denver with 22 points. Gary Harris had 18, and Murray 17.

Denver coach Michael Malone was hit with a technical foul in the third quarter during a stretch that saw Cleveland go ahead.

Murray hit a 3-pointer from 36 feet to end the first quarter in which Denver made 13 of 22 shots.

Drummond was out again with a strained left calf and has missed five of the last six games. Drummond participated in practice Friday and coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he’s close to returning.

Thompson and McKinnie returned for Cleveland. Thompson started at center after missing three games with a bruised left knee. McKinnie was out five games because of left foot plantar fasciitis.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Rookie F Michael Porter Jr. entered in the second quarter after being benched against Charlotte, scoring seven points in 16 minutes. ... G Troy Daniels was in uniform for the first time since signing with Denver two days earlier, but didn’t play. The seventh-year pro averaged 4.2 points in 41 games before being released by the Lakers.

Cavaliers: Cedi Osman scored 20, hitting 5 of 6 3-point attempts. ... Porter is in concussion protocol after being injured Wednesday. Garland (strained left groin) missed his third straight game and will be out Sunday against San Antonio.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host Milwaukee on Monday night.

Cavaliers: Host San Antonio on Sunday night.