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LeBron struggles in loss to Timberwolves, Lowry injured

LeBron James had one of the worst performances of his career as the Cleveland Cavaliers were thrashed by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA on Monday.

It was not a good night for two of the Eastern Conference’s better players with James struggling and Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry unable to walk off the court under his own power after landing hard on his back in an overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Lowry attempted to walk off the injury but fell to the court before his team-mates carried him to the locker room. The Raptors said after the game Lowry sustained an acute back spasm and will be reevaluated Tuesday.

James and the Cavaliers had a night to forget as the Timberwolves opened a 41-point lead in the third quarter of a 127-99 rout of the Cavs.

James managed just 10 points on four-for-eight shooting and registered a minus-39, the worst plus-minus in a game in his career, according to ESPN.

Playing in only his third game in a Cavs uniform since returning from a hip injury, Isaiah Thomas finished the night with nine points after being ejected in the third quarter. As T-Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins drove into the paint, Thomas stepped in and slapped him in the throat, earning the Flagrant 2 foul.

DOMINANT DAVIS

Anthony Davis scored 30 points with 10 rebounds as the Pelicans held off the Pistons 112-109. Davis scored all 30 points before leaving with a right ankle injury with four minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Fellow Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins scored 16 of his 20 points after Davis’ injury.

GIANNIS STRUGGLES FOR BUCKS

MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo registered a minus-17 and knocked down just three field goals in a 109-96 loss to the Pacers. The Bucks opened up a 37-16 first-quarter lead thanks to a 22-2 run. Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe combined for eight of the Bucks’ 17 turnovers.

NO HARDEN, NO WORRIES

Chris Paul and Eric Gordon each had 24 points and nine assists and Gerald Green scored 22 points as the Rockets beat the Bulls without star James Harden.

MONDAY’S RESULTS

Indiana Pacers 109-96 Milwaukee Bucks
Toronto Raptors 114-113 Brooklyn Nets
Houston Rockets 116-107 Chicago Bulls
Minnesota Timberwolves 127-99 Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans 112-109 Detroit Pistons
San Antonio Spurs 107-100 Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors 124-114 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Clippers 108-107 Atlanta Hawks

TRAIL BLAZERS AT THUNDER

Portland are coming off a last-second win over the Spurs, while the Thunder are looking to bounce back from a poor performance in a loss to the Suns. Russell Westbrook and his team are playing their first game at Chesapeake Energy Arena of the new year after a three-game road trip.