Cleveland hands Magic fourth consecutive loss

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- LeBron James is carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers down the stretch.

Playing the entire game yet again, James had 33 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals in leading the Cavaliers to a 114-106 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

In Cleveland's last 14 games, James has played 48 minutes -- or longer -- six times.

"My engine is running," said James, whose 42.1 minutes per game are second only to Allen Iverson. "I'm not going to turn it off until after the season."

The Cavaliers came into Orlando struggling, having lost five of seven and 14 of 15 on the road. But they moved a step closer toward extending their season by another four games, at the least.

Cleveland (40-37) took a half-game lead over idle Philadelphia for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and a two-game lead over ninth-place New Jersey.

They also stayed within two games of sixth-place Washington. The Wizards, who beat Milwaukee 119-112, visit Cleveland on Friday.

"It's up to us if we want to go to the playoffs," James said. "We know teams are chasing us. We're still chasing teams, too."

James wasn't the only Cavalier to see extended playing time. Drew Gooden had 27 points in 42 minutes, while Jeff McInnis had 16 points and eight assists in 39 minutes. Robert Traylor (31 minutes) tied his career high with 20 points.

"I haven't seen Tractor play like this in a long time," James said.

Dwight Howard had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando (35-42), losers of four straight and five of six. The Magic are 4½ games behind the 76ers with five games remaining.

"It hurts really bad, there's no doubt about that," said interim coach Chris Jent, 4-9 since taking over for the fired Johnny Davis. "It's really disappointing."

Steve Francis also scored 23, while DeShawn Stevenson had 21.

James seemed to have sealed the win early in the fourth quarter, putting Cleveland up 86-76 with a three-point play off his own miss of a 3-pointer. After a turnover, Gooden followed with a wide-open dunk.

But following a timeout, Orlando's gamble on a full-court press paid off. Forcing turnovers on four straight possessions, the Magic blitzed back within two points.

James restored order by drawing a foul and sinking the free throws for a four-point advantage. Following another Magic turnover, McInnis made two free throws for a 92-86 lead with 7:07 remaining and Cleveland soon re-established its 10-point margin.

The Magic shot 55 percent but were done in by 24 turnovers, one short of their season worst.

"Maybe we're trying a little bit too hard," Jent said. "We're trying to make the home run plays instead of staying basic, staying solid, moving the ball to the open man."

Game notes
Orlando last posted back-to-back losing seasons in 1990-91 and 91-92. In June 1992, the Magic drafted Shaquille O'Neal, and 11 non-losing seasons followed. ... Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas missed his fourth straight game with a dislocated right ring finger. ... Anderson Varejao was hit with a technical foul early in the second quarter after angrily reacting to Stacey Augmon flattening him during a drive.

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