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James magic keeps Cavs' hopes alive

THE Cleveland Cavaliers stayed alive in the National Basketball Association playoffs with a 112-102 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday, cutting the deficit in their Eastern Conference finals series to 3-2.

Cleveland star LeBron James had 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, and Mo Williams added 24 points.

"You never want to disappoint the home crowd by not coming out and play as hard as you can," James said. "It was win or go home."

The Magic overcame a 22-point deficit but missed their first opportunity to close out the Cavaliers, who are trying to become just the ninth team since 1947 to rally and win a series after being down 1-3.

Orlando has two more chances to clinch the series and reach the NBA finals for the first time since 1995. Game 6 is in Orlando tomorrow, with a possible Game 7 back in Cleveland.

James scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and had a hand in 29 of Cleveland's 34 points in the final 12 minutes.

Williams, his trusty sidekick all season, helped him, as did Zydrunas Ilgauskas (16 points), Delonte West (13) and reserve Daniel Gibson (11).

For Orlando, Hedo Turkoglu scored 29 and Dwight Howard had 24 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:22 remaining.

The Magic have twice ended series on the road this postseason, winning a Game 6 in Philadelphia and a Game 7 in Boston to make the conference finals. For a while it looked like Orlando might do it again, taking a 79-78 lead into the fourth quarter.

James had other plans. He picked up his first assist of the final period on a three-pointer by Williams and his second on a 3 by Gibson. Cleveland then turned to its superstar every time on offense, spreading the floor and forcing the Magic to defend him.

"The game is basically all LeBron, all the time," said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, who was called for a technical in the second quarter. "If he gets in the paint, it's automatically a foul."

Down 10-32 with 3:40 left in the first quarter, the Magic started knocking down 3s and outscored the Cavaliers 45-24 the rest of the first half.

The Magic, who made just eight 3s after hitting 17 in Game 4, then opened the third with nine straight points as Turkoglu hit a three-pointer and Orlando was within 94-93 after Turkoglu made three free throws with 4:46 left. James then whipped a pass to Gibson for a 3 to make it 97-93.

Orlando missed on its next trip and James dropped a jump shot. Mickael Pietrus missed the next time down and James was able to foul out Howard, who smiled as he headed to the bench knowing he and his teammates are still in control of the series.


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