Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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James carries Cavs over Nets

CLEVELAND - LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers keep rolling along.

James scored 32 points to lead the Cavaliers to their 12th straight win last night, a 104-97 victory over the New Jersey Nets. The win gives Cleveland the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. The Cavaliers (42-11) also have the best record in the league.

James, who was named the Eastern Conference's player of the week for the fifth time this season Monday, was 13-of-21 from the field with 11 assists and three rebounds.

"He's an amazing player and keeps getting better and better," New Jersey coach Kiki Vandeweghe said. "There aren't accolades to describe his game."

There have been few accolades to describe how well Cleveland has played lately. Besides their winning streak, the Cavaliers are a league-best 23-3 at home, winning 10 straight and 21 of 22.

"It's impressive no matter what league you're in, no matter who you're playing against," James said. "To have a 12-game winning streak against the best competition in the world is impressive. Hopefully we can continue that on Thursday."

James was referring to Cleveland's next game when Orlando visits Quicken Loans Arena in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals, which the Magic won in six games.

While the Nets held the lead for most of the first quarter and were within four points late in the third period, New Jersey's miserable season continued. The Nets (4-47) have the NBA's worst record and have lost seven straight. New Jersey played without point guard Devin Harris, who has a sprained left shoulder. Courtney Lee led the Nets with 24 points.

Nets swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts, who averages 12.2 points, was benched last night. He left Saturday's game with back spasms, but Vandeweghe said he wanted to look at other players.

Douglas-Roberts, who has expressed displeasure with his role, showed up expecting to play.

"You get surprised a lot in the league. It is what it is," Douglas-Roberts said. "Things don't work out all the time."

Douglas-Roberts doesn't plan on complaining to Vandeweghe.

"Absolutely not. I don't think talks really do anything," he said.

Even James is puzzled about the Nets' woes.

"They have a lot of talent," he said. "I think Brook Lopez one day will be an all-star. Devin Harris one day could be an all-star. They have good talent. I don't see why they are where they are at this point in the season."

Jawad Willams scored a career-high 17 points while Anderson Varejao added 15 for Cleveland.

The Nets built an eight-point lead in the first quarter thanks primarily to 11 points by Jarvis Hayes, who hit three 3-pointers. Cleveland scored the last seven points of the quarter and went ahead for good early in the second period.

The Cavaliers' spurt was capped with a highlight reel play at both ends of the court. It began when Shaquille O'Neal blocked Lopez's shot at the basket. The 7-foot-1, 325-pound center grabbed the ball and dribbled up the floor before finding James on the wing. James made a perfect alley-oop pass to Varejao, who finished the play with a dunk, bringing the crowd to its feet. O'Neal then gave Varejao a resounding chest bump and the Nets called timeout.

"It was good. It surprised all of us," James said. "He doesn't dunk the ball a lot and he doesn't catch lobs at all. For him to go up there and catch it was surprising and definitely a momentum builder at that point."

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