CLEVELAND — LeBron James had 32 points and
13 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers matched their franchise record by
winning their 13th straight game with a 115-106 victory over the Orlando
Magic on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's Eastern
Both teams are again on top of the East this
year, but Cleveland has won both head-to-head meetings.
As he has done all season, James again closed
out another opponent late in the game, scoring seven points in the final
three minutes. Orlando went scoreless for five minutes in the fourth as
Cleveland turned a two-point deficit into a 105-98 lead.
The anticipated matchup between Shaquille
O'Neal and Dwight Howard never really materialized because both were in
foul trouble throughout. Fouls were a problem for both teams as they
combined for 43 fouls and 56 free throws.
With O'Neal on the bench most of the night, the
Cavaliers again relied on James. And as usual, he delivered.
James hit a deep jumper from just inside the
3-point line to give the Cavaliers a 105-96 lead, then followed it up
with a 3-pointer and another jumper to put the game out of reach. James
also had eight rebounds, falling two shy of his third triple-double this
Orlando, playing for the fourth time in five
nights, had won nine of its last 11.
J.J. Hickson had 20 points, Anderson Varejao
had 16 off the bench and O'Neal had 10 points and six rebounds in just
Howard, who also struggled with fouls in the
first meeting against Cleveland this season, had 19 points and 11
rebounds for Orlando. Rashard Lewis added 19 points, Vince Carter had 14
and Jameer Nelson had 13.
Cleveland can set a record for consecutive
wins next week when it hosts Denver on Thursday following the All-Star
Guard Delonte West returned to Cleveland's lineup after missing nine
games with a broken left ring finger. … Cleveland's Leon Powe passed a
number of physical tests this week and appears to be on pace to return
shortly after the All-Star break. Powe had microfracture and ACL surgery
on his knee over the summer. … Orlando's Lewis was suspended for the
first meeting in November. He averaged 18.3 points in the conference