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Late James show puts out Blazers

LEBRON James shook off a slow start to carry the league-leading Cleveland Cavaliers past the Portland Trail Blazers with a 97-92 overtime victory on Thursday.

James, the leading candidate for the National Basketball Association MVP award, scored his team's final six points in regulation and added another six during overtime in a vintage triple-double performance of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Cavaliers (55-13) retained their dominance of East and also tied an NBA record with just two turnovers for the game, a feat also achieved by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2006.

"That was the difference in the game, amazing by our guys," said Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, whose team improved to 31-1 at home.

Continuing his improved defense this season, James also added two blocks, including one on Travis Outlaw's attempted three-pointer with a minute left in regulation.

"I know Brandon (Roy) is going to kick it to the corner, so I ran directly to Travis and got a good piece of the ball," James said.

Elsewhere in the NBA, it was: Hawks 95, Mavericks 87; and Lakers 114, Warriors 106.

In Cleveland, Ohio, the Trail Blazers trailed 66-74 with seven minutes left in the fourth, before an 8-0 run pulled them even.

All Star guard Roy led the way with 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, finishing a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe and nailing two free throws with three seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Roy scored nine points in the last five minutes of regulation to keep his team close but went scoreless as Cleveland controlled the extra session for its seventh straight win.

Outlaw also caught fire late, adding 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for Portland (43-26), which had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell into a tie for fifth place in the close Western Conference with 13 games left.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 21 points for the Cavaliers.

In Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 24 points, and reserve Flip Murray had 19 as Atlanta downed Dallas for its seventh straight win.

The Hawks moved four games ahead of fifth-place Miami in the Eastern Conference standings.

Dallas has lost three of four to drop 1 1/2 behind seventh-place Utah in the West but is still 3 1/2 ahead of Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas.

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol each scored 21 points as Los Angeles held off Golden State.

The victory was the Lakers' 31st at home, eclipsing last season's total, and kept them a full game behind Cleveland for the best NBA record.

Monta Ellis scored 27 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 25 for the Warriors.


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