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James registers triple-double to pace Cavs

Nov 24, 2007 - 10:15 PM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James was not bothered by an early start.

James registered a triple-double with 37 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 111-108 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

The big effort from James was just a little more effective than a huge game from Raptors star Chris Bosh, who matched a career high with 41 points.

"This (past) summer I really dedicated myself to being the best player in this league," James said. "I feel like when I'm on the court, I want to be the best player on the court."

James was at his best in the second half, when the Cavaliers eventually secured the win to even their home record at 3-3.

It was the third triple-double of the season for James, who made 14-of-29 shots from the field in 44 scintillating minutes.

"(James) gets a triple-double and it seems effortless," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "He comes up with those numbers all of the time. You try not to take it for granted because he is so darned talented.

"But if there is a guy that can average (a triple-double), and it would be tough, then it's got to be LeBron James."

Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones provided some help to James, each having enough push in their legs to light things up from the outside. The duo combined for nine of the Cavaliers' 13 3-pointers.

Gibson drilled a shot from the arc with under five minutes remaining to give the Cavaliers a 101-93 advantage. Moments later, James drove to the basket and kicked out to Devin Brown, who sank a shot from the arc for a nine-point advantage.

The Raptors refused to quit, reeling off the next eight points capped by Jason Kapono's 3-pointer that made it 104-103 with 57 seconds remaining.

After James made a runner, Kapono answered with a hard drive to the basket. But James then converted a tough step-back jumper to a 108-105 advantage with 16 seconds left.

"It's a shot I practice every day," James said. "I just take what's there. (Carlos) Delfino did a great job of cutting me off when I tried to go right, so I came back and hit a tough shot."

Toronto coach Sam Mitchell wasn't disappointed with the defensive effort on James' key bucket.

"We're down one and we force (James) into a fadeaway jump shot at the top of the key," Mitchell said. "You can live with those. That's just one of those nights that you got beat."

Following a timeout, Anthony Parker missed a 3-pointer and James ran down the rebound. Brown split a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it 109-105.

However, the relentless Raptors pulled within 109-108 on Kapono's 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left. James sank two free throws with 2.5 seconds to go before Jose Calderon missed a half-court heave as time expired.

"We were going for the best open shot, but with the way they played it, we had an open three-pointer," Bosh said. "We know AP (Parker) can do the same thing (as Kapono from three-point rannge). He missed it. He just couldn't buy a shot at the end."

With James setting the tone, the Cavaliers shared the ball throughout, picking up 28 assists on 43 baskets.

"With us being short-handed, I can't help but to be the best player on the court right now," James said. "I have to continue to do that."

Bosh tried to will his team to the win, scoring 14 of his points in the fourth quarter. He made 13-of-25 shots from the field and 15-of-17 attempts at the free-throw line.

"I just have to keep it rolling," Bosh said. "But, I have to do a better job of staying aggressive on the boards (four rebounds)."

Bosh also got off to quick start, scoring 16 points in the first quarter as the Raptors grabbed a 30-21 lead. But the Cavaliers rallied within 56-52 at the break, then tied the contest at 81-81 after three quarters.

"We did a great job of defending a great offensive team in the second half," James said. "We also did a great job of finding the lineup that gave us the lead."

Kapono scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half and Andrea Bargnani added 14 for the Raptors, who lost for the sixth straight time in Cleveland.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavs, who shot 52 percent (43-of-83) and held a 47-28 advantage on the boards.

Toronto shot 49 percent (41-of-83).

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