MILWAUKEE — LeBron James had 24 points and eight assists, and Kyle Korver hit three straight 3s in a decisive third-quarter run to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 116-97 on Friday night.
Kevin Love added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs. Their 15-5 spurt over the final 4:25 of the third quarter, sparked by Korver’s long-range shooting, opened a 13-point lead. Cleveland led by double digits most of the rest of the way to spoil the Bucks’ home opener.
The defending Eastern Conference champions started the season with a second straight victory over an East contender after beating the Boston Celtics in their home opener.
Korver finished with 17 points and was 5 of 6 from 3-point territory.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetopounmpo had 34 points on 15-of-22 shooting, along with eight rebounds and eight assists. Malcolm Brogdon had 16 points.
But the Bucks had trouble early on keeping up with the Cavaliers in the paint, where Cleveland held a 64-50 edge. Jae Crowder added 14 points, providing an active presence in the lane.
The Cavs were 2 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half, but powered their way to a 55-49 halftime lead by attacking the basket. They were nearly unstoppable once they found their shot from long range.
At one point, James hesitated for a couple seconds after being left alone at the top of the 3-point arc. Antetopounmpo then took a couple steps out from near the bucket before James hit the open look for a 101-86 lead with 6:19 left.
Cavaliers: Six Cavs scored in double figures. … After hitting at least 10 3s in all four meetings last season with Milwaukee, the Cavaliers finished 11 of 26 from behind the arc. They were 9 of 16 in the second half. … Cleveland missed its first eight 3-pointers before Korver hit two in a row in late in the second quarter. … Love had an active first half with 13 points and six rebounds.
Bucks: Brogdon and Tony Snell (nine points) combined to start 3 of 5 from 3-point range in the first quarter, converting on open looks after defenders converged on driving teammates in the lane. The Bucks cooled off and went 3 of 16 the rest of the first half from behind the arc. … The team signed F Joel Bolomboy to a two-way contract. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds as a rookie last season for Utah.
Cavaliers: Host the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.
Bucks: Host the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.