*James scores 22 to lead Cavaliers past Bucks*
CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The Milwaukee Bucks are glad they won't have to face LeBron James again this season.
James just missed a triple-double with 22 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers won for the eighth time in 10 games with an 89-86 victory over the Bucks.
The league's third-leading scorer, James averaged 35.3 points in four meetings against the Bucks, including a season-high 52 on December 10, to help Cleveland take the season series, 3-1.
Despite his success, James said that it is never easy when he faces Milwaukee.
"We knew it was going to be a grind-it-out game," James said. "It's always been every time that we have played Milwaukee."
After Damon Jones hit a jumper with 3:58 to play to extend Cleveland's lead to 85-75, Milwaukee scored the next 11 points to move in front. Michael Redd contributed seven during the run, including a 3-pointer with 1:06 left, and T.J. Ford nailed a fadeaway jumper from the right elbow to give the Bucks an 86-85 edge.
"There wasn't any free-flowing play to the game at all," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "It was great to see our guys fight and come up with the win."
James, who hit 9-of-20 shots, ended the Cavaliers' drought when he made a driving layup with 18 seconds remaining for an 87-86 lead.
"What allowed me to get to the bucket so easily was that Donyell Marshall was in the strong corner and I knew Andrew Bogut wasn't going to help off of him," James said. "I gave Donyell a fake pass. Andrew bit on it and I was able to get the ball up and get it in."
"It was the first time all night where we let (James) go away from the screen," Milwaukee coach Terry Stotts said. "All the help was to the screen."
On Milwaukee's next possession, Redd committed an offensive foul on Anderson Varejao with 11 seconds to go.
"It didn't go my way," Redd said. "At the end of the game, I think that should be let go and that's my opinion. But it didn't go that way and I have to just keep playing basketball."
"I just had good position that time," said Varejao, who drew three charging fouls.
Moments later, the Bucks turned up the defensive intensity on James, who found a wide open Marshall for a dunk with nine seconds left and a three-point lead.
"It was designed just to get the ball in, because we knew they were pretty much going to foul us," Marshall said.
The Bucks had one last opportunity in the waning seconds but Charlie Bell missed a pair of free throws after he was purposely fouled by James with three seconds to go.
Drew Gooden and Sasha Pavlovic scored 15 points apiece and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 13 for the Cavaliers, who have won six straight home meetings against Milwaukee.
Bobby Simmons scored 21 points and Redd had 18 for the Bucks, who have dropped three of four.
"We felt if we won this game, there was good chance we'd have the tie-breaker at the end of the season," Stotts said. "That was definitely on our minds."
Although they have limited their last six opponents to an average of 85.5 points, the Bucks struggled from the floor, making just two of their first 19 shots and finishing at under 39 percent (32-of-83) from the field.
"We're playing better defense but our shooting percentage is going down," Ford said. "We've just got to put them both together."