Cavs' Thompson to miss several games with sprained ankle

Cavs' JR Smith finds soup toss ban jokes 'pretty funny'

Milwaukee, who dropped to eighth in the east, had a chance to tie the game but Giannis Antetokounmpo's three-point attempt from the wing hit the front of the rim as time expired. "It was the first time in a long time that I sat out the whole fourth quarter and felt good about it".

Nance Jr.'s efforts against the Pistons helped the Cavaliers break a two-game slide and remain one-half game ahead of the Indiana Pacers for third place in both the Eastern Conference and first in the Central Division.

Thompson missed 20 games earlier this season because of a left calf muscle injury.

Nance Jr. had a career night in his first start for the Cavs - a ***-** blowout of the Detroit Pistons.

Thompson scored 12 points and had seven rebounds in 28 minutes against the Nuggets. But the hope is he'll do that more playing with James on the first unit.Hood explained the difference for him playing on the Cavs than when he was with the Utah Jazz, which traded him here February 8."For me personally it's just two completely different styles of play than I've played the last three and a half years in Utah", Hood said.

"For us to come in here on a back to back and beat that team, they were doing everything they could to get that win", Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. "He never shot it in L.A. But coming here, just watching him shoot, he has three-point range also, which I didn't know". "The guys were giving me all the opportunity in the world to make my shots, and I just happened to be making them".

The Nuggets made 19 of 35 3-pointers, including three in the final 2:26, to hold off a second-half charge from the Cavs, who are struggling as they try to blend in four new players on the fly.

Jefferson experienced plenty of drama during his time in Cleveland, part of playing with James. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.

The Pistons are 6-8 since landing Griffin and have lost five of their last six. Totals 34-87 10-15 90. The Cavaliers aren't the most reliable home team in terms of betting trends, but the home team has covered in eight of the last nine meetings while the Pistons have been bad on the road no matter who they play. Two other reserves, Kyle Korver and Jordan Clarkson, chipped in 11 points apiece. Totals 43-88 14-17 112.

In Smith's absence, Rodney Hood will start.

Cleveland leads the season series 2-1.

Cleveland outscored Detroit 58-41 after halftime.

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