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James leads Cavs past Boozer, Jazz

Nov 17, 2007 - 5:17 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James carried his team to victory again.

James had a huge second half and nearly recorded a triple-double to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 99-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday.

James finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Cleveland, which has trailed after three quarters in all 10 games this season and was facing a 74-68 deficit entering the final quarter on Friday.

"(Utah) came in riding a five-game winning streak. They've been playing great basketball. And we know that our identity is defense," James said. "With guys being injured, and guys not being here, with everything we have went through the last month and a half, and to be .500 at this point in the season, I think it's great."

Former Cavalier Carlos Boozer hit a pair of free throws with 54 seconds to play to tie the game 90-90. He then an 18-foot jumper 24 seconds later to forge a 92-92 tie.

James then took over to help the Cavs snap a two-game losing streak. He went hard to the rim on Cleveland's next possession and drew a foul. He made both free throws to give the Cavaliers a 94-92 lead and then stripped Boozer on the other end to prevent a tying layup.

"(Boozer) didn't see me coming weak side and I was able to strip the ball down," James said. We messed up a defensive assignment and he shouldn't have been that open, but it's all about covering for your teammates."

Boozer, who lost Drew Gooden after setting a high screen, pleaded his case to no avail.

"I was trying to say (to the official) that he got me, but sometimes the hand is part of the ball," Boozer said. "But that was a good play on (James') part."

Devin Brown split a pair of free throws to extend the Cavs' lead to 95-92. After Utah closed to 95-94, James made four free throws in the final 3.8 seconds to provide the final margin.

James is 20-of-24 from the line over his last two games.

"We were able to score 20 fast-break points, and we were able to do that because we got stops," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.

James had a sub-par first half with just six points and four turnovers, but had a spectacular third quarter, scoring Cleveland's first 14 points. He finished with 16 for the quarter, including two dunks and a pretty behind-the-back feed in transition to Sasha Pavlovic for a bucket.

"It looked like we were afraid to get over in front of (James)," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "And if you're afraid and don't step over and try to take a charge on a guy and make him change his pace, and he's a great player and everybody knows that, but you have to take the challenge."

Boozer scored 26 points and had 11 rebounds for Utah. Deron Williams had an off-game scoring 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

"LeBron really took the second half over," Boozer said. "From the very beginning, he started driving to the hole and getting dunks, lay-ups and free throws. He did a helluva job taking the game over."

James missed a second straight triple-double by one assist. On Wednesday, he had 39 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists in a 117-116 overtime loss to Orlando.

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