The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 127-101 on the road but were dealt a blow when LeBron James left the court injured in the third quarter.
With 7.51 seconds remaining on the clock, the All-Star forward sustained a groin strain, finishing the Christmas game with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Steph Curry hit back-to-back three-pointers and the Warriors got to within two points before the end of third, but the Lakers maintained control, completing the victory thanks to 19 points from Kyle Kuzma and 18 from Ivica Zubac.
James was injured halfway through the third quarter when he reached for a loose ball. He grabbed his left groin before heading to the sidelines. He moved cautiously when he left the court and headed to the locker room.
“Hopefully it is not a long thing I can get back on the floor as soon as possible,” said James.
Lakers coach Luke Walton said team doctors would examine James later.
“He will get an MRI tomorrow and we will have a better understanding of what he has got going on,” Walton said.
The Boston Celtics gained revenge for their embarrassing loss to the New York Knicks late last month with a straightforward 128-100 win over them on Thursday.
Jaylen Brown returned from injury to score a season-high 21 points and point-guard Kyrie Irving added 22 as the Celtics eased to their fourth straight victory.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points for the ailing Knicks, who struggled without the injured Trey Burke, who had dominated in the win last month when he scored 29 points.
The Portland Trail Blazers piled more woe on the Phoenix Suns, winning 108-86.
Despite missing CJ McCollum due to an ankle injury, Portland surged into a 27-point first-quarter lead and there was never any doubt they would snap their three-game losing streak.
Damian Lillard top-scored on 25 points and Jake Layman managed a career-high 24 in an easy win over their opponents, who have now lost their last seven games.
The Houston Rockets were left equally embarrassed after they fell to a comprehensive 118-91 defeat to the Utah Jazz.
Derrick Favors finished with 24 points from just 10 minutes of action while Joe Ingles scored 18 as the Jazz cruised home in Salt Lake City.
LeBron James was given a hero’s welcome as he returned to Cleveland and was instrumental in the Los Angeles Lakers 109-105 victory.
James, who left the Cavaliers for the second time in the close season, had 32 points and 14 rebounds on the night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavs looked as if they may nick their third win of the season, but James was part of an 11-point run to put the visitors on top and Kyle Korver missed a three-point shot with less than 20 seconds left.
The Lakers have now won two on the bounce, while the Cavaliers, who appeared in the NBA Finals last season, sit bottom of the Central Division and the league with a 2-14 record.
The Houston Rockets continued their purple patch, with James Harden scoring 43 as they beat the Detroit Pistons 126-124.
The Rockets, who have won five in a row, survived a scare after seeing a lead of 14 with five minutes left in the game cut down to two at the buzzer.
Joel Embiid had a double-double (31 point and 19 rebounds) as the Philadelphia 76ers continued their undefeated streak at home with a 121-120 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Anthony Davis missed a third free throw with 2.5 seconds which could have sent the game into overtime.
Elsewhere, the Charlotte Hornets breezed past the Indiana Pacers 127-109, Kyle Lowry had a triple-double as the Toronto Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks 124-108 and the New York Knicks downed the Boston Celtics 117-109.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was an assist short of a triple-double as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 143-100, the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 124-116 and the Denver Nuggets were victorious over the Minnesota Timberwolves 103-101.
The Dallas Mavericks prevailed over the Brooklyn Nets 119-113, the Memphis Grizzlies edged the San Antonio Spurs 104-103, and the Sacramento Kings saw off the Utah Jazz 119-110.
The Golden State Warriors lost their fourth game in a row, going down 123-95 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Dennis Schroder getting 32 against the Steph Curry-less Warriors.