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Magical James rescues Cavs

LEBRON James came to the Cleveland Cavaliers' rescue with 43 points in a key 97-93 triumph over Eastern Conference rivals Orlando on Tuesday.

With Cleveland trailing by a point, James drilled a long three-pointer with 47 seconds remaining to put his team up 95-93.

James, who scored 15 of his game-high 43 points in the fourth quarter, added a pair of free throws down the stretch and collected 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

"You can't afford to take a step back with the playoffs right around the corner," James told reporters. "(The Magic) are a good team, it's possible we'll see them in the playoffs."

Cleveland (54-13) won for the sixth consecutive game and extended its lead in the East to four games with 15 remaining. The Magic are third in the conference with a 49-18 record.

Rafer Alston recorded a team-high 23 points while Courtney Lee had 19 for Orlando, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

The Magic looked poised to hand the Cavaliers just their second home loss of the season when they took a 75-72 lead into the fourth quarter.

But James ignited his team by scoring Cleveland's first six points of the quarter to lead a quick 8-0 run that provided the Cavaliers with an 80-78 advantage.

"I don't know if there is a good answer (on how to stop) him," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said of James.

"He's going to kill you one-on-one scoring."

In Los Angeles, Andre Iguodala scored 25 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as Philadelphia overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Los Angeles 94-93.

The Sixers were trailing 78-67 when interim coach Tony DiLeo put little-used forward Donyell Marshall into the game for the first time. The 14-year veteran drained a 3-pointer 19 seconds later, igniting a 20-2 blitz.

Still, the Lakers led 93-91 when Andre Miller inbounded to Iguodala, who was covered loosely by Ariza before connecting from the top of the key.

In Atlanta, Al Horford had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Josh Smith finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds as Atlanta downed Sacramento 119-97 for its sixth straight victory.

The Hawks are 40 wins against 28 losses overall, their highest win total since 1997-98. They moved three games ahead of fifth-place Miami in the Eastern Conference standings.

Kevin Martin scored 31 for Sacramento, which stretched its losing streak to four games overall and on the road.

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks finally took advantage of an injury-depleted Pistons to lead the Mavs from start to finish for an 103-101 victory. The Mavs won their eighth straight at home.

Richard Hamilton was a late scratch for Detroit because of an aggravated groin problem. With Rasheed Wallace (calf) and Allen Iverson (back) also out, the Pistons were missing a combined average of 48.5 points per game, and were out of whack from the start.

Nowitzki scored 30 points, Jason Terry had 18 and Dampier tied his season high with 16 points, and had 13 rebounds.

Elsewhere, it was: Spurs 93, Timberwolves 86; Jazz 103, Wizards 88; Bulls 127, Celtics 121; and Warriors 127, Clippers 120.


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