BOSTON, Nov. 26 (Ticker) -- LeBron James followed up the best offensive game of his career by going on the defensive.

James blocked Paul Pierce's fadeaway jumper with under a second remaining as the Cleveland Cavaliers won in Boston for the first time in more than seven years, holding on for a 98-96 victory over the Celtics.

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In Wednesday's 92-76 victory over defending champion Detroit, James put on an offensive display, scoring a career-best and NBA season-high 43 points. He was not as explosive in this one but still was a major factor.

After James set up Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a jumper with 19 seconds left to snap a 96-96 tie, the 19-year phenom came up huge on the other end of the floor.

Following a timeout, the Celtics went to the 6-6 Pierce, who struggled down the stretch. He was defended hard by Drew Gooden and the 6-8 James, who was able to get a hand on the shot.

"I knew they were going to isolate him on Drew Gooden," James said. "Drew did a good job and brought him to me and I stepped up and got the block. That is just great team defense."

"I've been in the league seven years now and I have more ups and downs, and this is one of those games that I felt I let the team down," Pierce said. "But there will be more times I will lift them up. I'm not even worried about it."

James scored 20 points with eight assists and six rebounds. He also stole a pass from Pierce with just over two minutes remaining.

Gooden scored 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting and Ilgauskas added 26 for Cleveland, which had lost 12 straight in Boston dating to Nov. 7, 1997 -- when James was 12 years old.

Pierce scored 25 points and Gary Payton added 14 and 10 assists for the Celtics, who have lost three straight and five of their last six games.

Pierce also lost the ball on his dribble with 1:31 left, then fouled Jeff McInnis, who sank both free throws to tie the game at 94-94. McInnis scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.

James and Payton traded baskets before Ilgauskas made his 16-footer to give the Cavaliers the lead for good.

"It was designed for LeBron to catch the ball on the wing just like he did," Ilgauskas said. "But when he drove to the middle, my man went to help on him and he just dished it to me for the jump shot, and I had no other choice but to take it. I was wide open."

Ilgauskas and Gooden had their way down low, combining for 36 points in the first half to help the Cavaliers open a 53-48 lead. Cleveland shot 59 percent (20-of-34) in the half.

A layup by James gave the Cavaliers a 75-67 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter. But Pierce made a 3-pointer 11 seconds later to trigger a 14-0 surge that closed the quarter and gave the Celtics the lead.

"We were scoring, impossible to guard, and then I thought we stopped playing and that's tough," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Ilgauskas made a tough shot. I can live with that, but down the stretch, I thought we just wilted."

Cleveland shot 54 percent (37-of-68), making up for a lack of production from its bench, which combined for just four points. The Celtics shot 46 percent (33-of-72).