CLEVELAND, March 18 – LeBron James scored 43 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and passed off a game-high eight assists to power Cleveland over Orlando 97-93 in a duel of National Basketball Association powers Tuesday.
The Cavaliers, who trailed 93-92 in the closing seconds, improved to a league-best 54-13 while Orlando slid to 49-18, still the third-best mark in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall.
"Maybe we’ll see them again deep in the playoffs," James said.
James sank a 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining and added two free throws with 8.7 seconds on the clock, the last of his 15 points in the final quarter, to give the Cavaliers their 30th home triumph in 31 starts.
"That was just being confident," James said. "Being down one and taking a 3, a lot of people wouldn’t have done that. I’m one of the guys who would."
Orlando center Dwight Howard was whistled for a lane violation on the next Magic possession after James’ 3-pointer, setting up the forced foul and James’ final free throws.
"I was very surprised," Hoiward said. "I was in the lane and I got out. It seemed like their bench or their coaching staff got into the ref’s ear about me being in the lane. I guess the bench made the call."
Orlando had won seven of the past nine starts against the Cavaliers, including three in a row at Cleveland.
Howard had 13 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots for Orlando, which was led by Rafer Alston’s 23 points and 19 from Courtney Lee.
Mo Williams added 21 points for Cleveland