Thursdays NBA Snapshots

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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A quick look at Thursday's NBA games:
Cavaliers 93 Lakers 87
At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 37 points, including 12 straight down the stretch, and the Cavs, playing their first game without injured Mo Williams, beat the NBA champions.
J.J. Hickson grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and Anderson Varejao made three free throws in the final 20 seconds as Cleveland swept the season series between the league's top two teams. That could give the Cavs home-court advantage if they meet the Lakers in June's NBA finals.
A lot can happen between now and then, but the win gave Cleveland confidence it might be able to survive despite losing Williams, their All-Star point guard who will miss at least one month with a shoulder sprain. Williams scored a team-high 28 in the Dec. 25 win at Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant finished with 31 points but was only 4-of-15 in the second half as the Lakers lost the opener of an eight-game road trip.
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Nuggets 105 Clippers 85
At Denver, Chauncey Billups scored 13 of his 20 points in the third quarter to break open a tight game and the Nuggets won their fifth straight.
Carmelo Anthony, selected as a starter for the all-star game in fan balloting announced earlier Thursday, had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Nuggets, whose winning streak matched a season high.
Kenyon Martin added 13 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, which beat the Clippers for the sixth straight time at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets also won their sixth straight at home, where they are 19-3 - the second-best mark in the NBA.
Craig Smith scored 21 points led the Clippers, who fell to 0-12 on the road when scoring less than 100 points.

Organizations: NBA, Lakers, Staples Center Pepsi Center

Geographic location: Cleveland, Denver

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