CLEVELAND (AP) -- In 6 shining seconds, LeBron James made a block
at one end, a dunk at the other and left a lasting memory of
"It was unbelievable," said Phoenix guard Leandro Barbosa.
James scored 32 of his 44 points in the second half, and brought
Cleveland back almost all by himself as the Cavaliers rallied for
their fifth straight win, 113-106 over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
James added 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Cavs, who
trailed by 17 midway through the third quarter when their
third-year superstar took control of the game.
And, in a stirring 6-second sequence of the fourth, James made
one of the best plays of this NBA season -- or any other.
First, he hustled back on defense and blocked a floating layup
by the speedy Barbosa, whose shot would have tied it. Then, James
quickly retrieved the ball, sped down the floor, eluded Boris Diaw
with a head fake and delivered a vicious, right-handed dunk that
gave the Cavaliers a 97-93 lead.
Two plays. Six seconds. Over 100 feet. Thousands of dropped
"I was like, 'Holy Moley!" Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "That
was one of the most athletic plays I've ever seen."
The Suns were stunned.
"He made a million highlights in a very short time," said
reigning league MVP Steve Nash, who led Phoenix with 24 points.
James scored 16 points in the third and added another 16 in the
fourth when Cleveland's defense finally slowed the Suns, holding
the NBA's highest-scoring team to 19 points on just 6-of-20
During the Cavs' winning streak, James is averaging 37.2 points,
7.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists, and his 44-point, 11-rebound,
7-assist effort has only been matched by Michael Jordan, Larry Bird
and Hakeem Olajuwon since 1991-92.
But it was his game-changing block of Barbosa that stood out.
"That play was very key," James said. "I just wanted to make
a play to try and take the life out of them a little bit."
Even more than one-half hour following the game, Barbosa got
wide-eyed as he tried to describe how James ran him down from
"I never saw him," said Barbosa, who started for the injured
Raja Bell. "I asked coach, 'How did he do that?' My teammates said
I was dribbling like crazy and he still caught me. All of a sudden,
he's at the other end."
Sasha Pavlovic had 15 points, Donyell Marshall 14 and reserve
Anderson Varejao six with seven rebounds in a season-high 19
minutes for Cleveland. The wild-haired Varejao, a Cavs fan favorite
because of his hustle, missed the first two months of the season
following shoulder surgery.
"We know what we are going to get out of Andy every night, that
is hustle, rebounding and defense," James said. "I know he feels
good to be back playing with us. I know it's good to see him."
Eddie House scored 16 points for Pacific Division-leading
Phoenix, which dropped to 2-2 on a six-game road trip.
James single-handedly brought the Cavs back in the third
quarter, scoring 14 of his 16 in the final 7:49 of the period as
Cleveland trimmed a 72-55 deficit to 87-84 going into the fourth
Leading 60-55, the Suns ran off 12 straight points early in the
third and seemed on the verge of pulling away for good before James
took it upon himself to carry the Cavs. He made a three-point play
and two 3-pointers while scoring 14 of Cleveland's final 20 points
in the quarter.
Barbosa made his sixth start because Bell sat out with a sore
calf. Bell, averaging 14.2 points in 38 minutes, strained his calf
in practice on Saturday.
The lightning-quick Barbosa drove past Cleveland defenders and
picked up five assists in the first six minutes of the first
quarter as the Suns shot 70 percent (14-of-20) to open a 10-point
The Cavs have chosen not to sign C Zendon Hamilton for the
remainder of the season. His second 10-day contract expired Sunday.
... Nash is trying to become the first player to average at least
19 points and 11 assists per game since Magic Johnson did it in
1990-91. Nash's 19.1 point average is the highest in his 10-year
career, and nearly four more points than he averaged as MVP last
season. The only player to increase his scoring average from his
MVP year was Larry Bird, who went up 4.5 points after winning in
1983-84. ... Cavs C Zydrunas Ilgauskas said the club's recent
travel schedule has been odd. "You know you haven't been home a
lot when your dog barks at you," said Ilgauskas, who has an
8-month-old Newfoundland named "Beckham" that weighs 115 pounds.
Kevin Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combine for 71 points as the Cavaliers go up 31 points at the half and rout the Raptors 116-78.
After the Raptors' Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers, Stephen A. Smith has some harsh criticism for Toronto, saying, "It was one of the most pathetic performances that I've ever seen in my life."
The Cleveland Cavaliers vaporized the Toronto Raptors in Game 5, smothering the Canadian backcourt to take a 3-2 series lead in the East finals.