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James leads Cavaliers past Raptors

Mar 5, 2015 - 6:13 AM Toronto, ON ( - LeBron James posted 29 points and 14 assists to help guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 120-112 win over the Toronto Raptors in a key battle for position in the Eastern Conference.

All five starters and James Jones scored in double figures for Cleveland, with the latter hitting 4-of-7 from 3-point range en route to a season-high 14 points. Kyrie Irving had 26 and eight assists, and Kevin Love tallied 22 with 10 rebounds.

"Toronto is a very good basketball team," said Cavs coach David Blatt. "They didn't quit, nor did we expect them to."

The win put the Cavs in a virtual dead-heat with Toronto and Chicago for second place in the conference behind Atlanta, which has already clinched a playoff berth.

Three players did most of the damage for the Raptors. Jonas Valanciunas shot 12-for-17 from the floor for 26 points, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 and Lou Williams outscored Cleveland's bench by himself, 26-18.

Williams shot 7-for-8 from the floor, made all four of his 3-point attempts and all eight of his free throws.

"I'm not very emotional when I play. That's just how I'm wired up," said Williams.

Toronto trailed by 10 after three quarters, but Williams scored 11 points and assisted on an Amir Johnson hook shot in the first three minutes of the fourth. He brought Toronto back to within four by himself, and Terrence Ross's corner 3 cut the lead 91-90 with 8:50 left.

Out of a timeout, Williams hit again from deep and the Raptors had their first lead since early in the first quarter.

But it was James who owned the final stages of this one. His two-handed slam with 5:51 remaining restored Cleveland's lead. After Greivis Vasquez tied it at 97-97 with a free throw split seconds later, James found Jones for a 3, hit two free throws and potted triples on consecutive possessions to give Cleveland a 108-101 advantage.

The Cavs led 28-25 after one, and their lead was down to two 4 1/2 minutes into the second quarter. James' layup then sparked a 12-2 run, and Love hit consecutive 3-pointers later in the period to push the lead to 53-39.

Irving's layup with 9.9 seconds left sent Cleveland into the break with a 57-43 lead, but Toronto cut into it with a strong third.

After Cleveland's J.R. Smith's basket made it 72-53 just before the midpoint of the stanza, Toronto scored 19 of the next 27 points to get back within single digits. DeRozan had 10 points during the run, which Valanciunas capped with a pair of free throws.

Game Notes

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (rest) sat out his third straight game ... Toronto has lost six of seven ... Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range ... Vasquez had 13 assists.