CLEVELAND – With 20,000 fans roaring, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James hugged and seemed to be in a world of their own.
One on one.
“It was just a lot of mutual respect,” James said of the embrace. “Sometimes what is known doesn’t need to be said.”
The two superstars shared the same floor in Cleveland for the final time on Wednesday night as the Cavaliers, despite playing the second half without Kevin Love, downed the Los Angeles Lakers 120-111 in their last game before the All-Star break.
Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 35 points and James added 29 for the Cavs, who feared Love had re-injured his surgically repaired left shoulder in the first half. However, following the game Love said he only has a “stinger” and doesn’t expect to miss any time.
Bryant finished with 17 points in his last performance in Cleveland, where many fans cheered his every move and fans serenaded him with “Ko-be” chants throughout the night.
For James, there has been no player of his era quite like Bryant.
“His competitive nature,” James said when asked what he admires most about Bryant. “A lot of guys might be bigger, taller or jump higher, but it’s something that’s in you that gets you to that level.”
Lou Williams scored 28 to lead the Lakers, who have dropped 13 of 15.
Cleveland carried a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Warriors 112, Suns 104
In Phoenix, Stephen Curry nearly had a triple-double before sitting out the fourth quarter, and Golden State stormed into the All-Star break on an 11-game winning streak with a victory over the free-falling Suns.
Curry had 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the defending NBA champions.
At 48-4, the Warriors have the best record through 52 games in NBA history, one win better than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers.
Trail Blazers 116, Rockets 103
In Portland, Damian Lillard sparked a second-quarter outburst for the Trail Blazers and finished with 31 points and nine assists.
Spurs 98, Magic 96
In Orlando, Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points and drilled a jumper from the tip of the key with 0.9 on the clock.
Kings 114, 76ers 110
In Philadelphia, DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Darren Collison scored 21 of his 25 points after halftime for Sacramento.
Celtics 139, Clippers 134 (OT)
In Boston, Isaiah Thomas had 36 points and 11 assists, including a fade-away jumper that sent the game to an extra period.
Hawks 113, Bulls 90
In Chicago, Jeff Teague had 17 points and eight assists, Al Horford scored 16 and Atlanta routed the struggling Bulls.
T-Wolves 117, Raptors 112
In Minneapolis, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 35 points and collected 11 rebounds, and the hosts rallied from 18 down.
Pelicans 100, Jazz 96
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis capped a 19-point night with a running left-handed hook and 3-pointer in the final minute, and the Pelicans beat Utah to snap the Jazz’s seven-game winning streak.
Grizzlies 109, Nets 90
In New York, Mike Conley scored 20 points, Jeff Green had 12 of his 18 in the third quarter for Memphis.
Nuggets 103, Pistons 92
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Denver’s Will Barton scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Hornets 117, Pacers 95
In Indianapolis, Kemba Walker scored 25 points and Jeremy Lamb had 16 as suddenly surging Charlotte rolled to a victory over the Pacers.