Cavaliersí James Stars Down Stretch
Cleveland 102, Sacramento 97
SACRAMENTO, Dec. 6 (Ticker) -- LeBron James proved that sometimes one King is better than a whole team full of them.
James scored 30 points and took over down the stretch as the Cleveland Cavaliers recorded a 102-97 triumph over the Sacramento Kings.
But that is when "King James" began to rule the court.
After Alan Henderson tied the game with a layup, James made a pair of driving layups to give Cleveland an 81-77 lead. Both plays were reminiscent of the qualities that epitomize James, who simply was too strong and athletic for the Kings to handle.
"He's become one of those great players," Sacramento center Brad Miller said. "That's what you do if you are a great player, you step up your game in the second half."
The 2004 Rookie of the Year, James pushed the lead to 83-77 on the next possession when he followed in his own miss. After the Kings sliced the deficit to 84-81 on a 18-footer by Peja Stojakovic, James drained a 3-pointer with 4:51 remaining to take the air out of Sacramento's comeback.
"We just played well today," James said. "We were able to get stops in the first half and knock down some key shots in the second. ... We had lost four of our last five games, so we wanted to come in here and get a win."
James made 10-of-23 shots as he scored 30 points or more for the sixth time in his last eight games. He also had six assists, six rebounds, two steals and three blocks in 44 minutes.
"He is amazing," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He is a guy who has carried us through a lot of these basketball games. He has teammates around him that help on both ends of the court, but the guy scores 30 points tonight and six boards and assists, getting that type of production from your star is great."
James, who does not turn 21 until Dec. 30, is averaging 31.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.1 steals over his last eight contests.
"He is an unbelievable player," Stojakovic said. "He is carrying the Cavaliers."
Larry Hughes scored 24 points and Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in 14 apiece for Cleveland, which shot just under 50 percent (37-of-75).
"It was a tough loss," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They just couldn't get any stops in the fourth quarter. ... We couldn't keep James, we couldn't keep Hughes in front of us. We played hard, we just couldn't get the stops when we needed."
The Cavaliers' starters combined to shoot 53 percent (32-of-60) from the floor.
"Any time you can win, I'm happy to get a win on the road - in anyone's building," Brown said. "That is what we need to do. We have to become a better road team in order to become a better team in this league. For us to come in here and get a win against a good Sacramento team ... was a big win for us."
Shareef Abdur-Rahim led five Kings in double figures with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Bonzi Wells added 19 and 12 rebounds for Sacramento, which dropped its fourth straight game.
"Our expectations are so much higher than we are (playing) right now," Abdur-Rahim said. "This is tough, because when you look at our locker room, we do have talent."
Stojakovic and Mike Bibby combined to shoot just 10-of-29 from the floor for the Kings, who were outrebounded, 41-35, and made just 3-of-16 shots from the arc.
"I've said it every time - it's always something different," Adelman said. "Tonight it was Peja not making shots and Mike not making shots."
"It's tough, we played with a bit more energy than the last game but it's the same results," said Miller, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. "I guess we just move on."