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James, Cavaliers shoot down unlucky Thunder (Roundup)
By Chris Bernucca Jan 24, 2010, 6:10 GMT
Los Angeles - The James Gang left Kevin Durant thunderstruck again.
LeBron James scored 37 points and Daniel Gibson sank a go-ahead three-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining Saturday night to lift the host Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-99 victory over Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James had 12 assists, nine rebounds and a huge block on a potential tying shot by Durant, who scored 34 points but watched his team lose on a last-second shot for the second straight night.
'(James is) playing like he's head and shoulders above a lot of people right now,' said Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, whose team has won four straight games.
'These are tough losses, but you have to go through some tough losses to understand what it is to win in this league,' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
On Friday in Memphis, Oklahoma City was shot down by Rudy Gay's jumper with 1.3 seconds left. In both games, Durant had a chance to change the outcome but missed shots.
'I'm learning each time I do that,' Durant said. 'That's all I can say. I made a good move and shot a good shot, but it got blocked (tonight). Against Memphis, I shot a good shot and missed. Hopefully, I'll start to make shots.'
Gibson was moved into the starting lineup due to injuries to guards Mo Williams and Delonte West. But it was James who ran the offense most of the night, and he found Gibson for the clutch shot that gave Cleveland a 98-96 lead.
'He seems to always make those plays where he trusts his teammates,' said Gibson, who scored 13 points.
On the next possession, James blocked Durant's difficult left-handed runner, grabbed the rebound and was fouled with less than a second to go.
'You have to time it up perfect,' said James, who also had a big block on Pau Gasol in Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers. 'I jumped when he jumped, and luckily he landed a little bit before I did.'
'I was looking at the basket,' said Durant, who made 10-of-25 shots. 'I didn't see who was behind me.'
James sank both free throws to make Durant's closing three-pointer meaningless.
The Cavs opened a 56-43 halftime lead but sputtered in the third quarter as the Thunder took a 78-77 lead into the final period.
Shaquille O'Neal scored a season-high 22 points for the Cavaliers. Russell Westbrook scored 23 points for the Thunder, whose last four losses have been by a combined five points.
Utah 116, New Jersey 83=
Turkey's Mehmet Okur collected 20 points and 11 rebounds for the host Jazz, who have won five of six. China's Yi Jianlian scored 16 points for the Nets, who have lost 11 in a row and fell to 0-18 vs. the Western Conference.
Phoenix 112, Golden State 103=
Slovenia's Goran Dragic scored 18 of his career-high 20 points in the final period as the Suns beat the visiting Warriors for the 10th consecutive time.
Denver 116, New Orleans 110 (OT)=
The host Nuggets won their sixth straight game behind Carmelo Anthony, who had 30 points and 11 boards. Chris Paul had 26 points and 10 assists for the Hornets.
Orlando 106, Charlotte 95 (OT)=
Jameer Nelson scored six of his 21 points in overtime as the Magic ended the Bobcats' nine-game home winning streak. Reserve D.J. Augustin scored 22 points for Charlotte, which erased a 16-point deficit.
Miami 115, Sacramento 84=
Dwyane Wade had 27 points and eight assists in three quarters as the host Heat won for the third time in four games, all by at least 24 points. Israeli rookie Omri Casspi scored 13 points in the Kings' seventh straight loss.
Portland 97, Detroit 93=
Martell Webster's career-high 28 points lifted the shorthanded Blazers, who again played without leading scorer Brandon Roy but completed a 2-2 road trip. Richard Hamilton scored 25 points for the Pistons.
Chicago 104, Houston 97=
Brad Miller filled in for the injured Joakim Noah with a season-high 25 points for the Bulls, who have won six of eight. Carl Landry scored 22 points for the host Rockets.
Philadelphia 107, Indiana 97=
Elton Brand scored 23 points and Thaddeus Young added 22 for the 76ers, who have won five of their last seven road games. Danny Granger scored 22 points for the Pacers, who have dropped four of five.
Milwaukee 127, Minnesota 94=
Argentina's Carlos Delfino 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the host Bucks handed the Timberwolves their 12th loss in 14 games.