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James flirts with triple-double as Cavs handle sluggish Bulls

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored a season-high 41 points -- 15 on free throws -- and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 15 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-93 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

James, who briefly left the floor in the first quarter after twisting his left ankle, missed just once from the line. In his past two games, James, who has struggled with his touch from 15 feet throughout his career, has made 28 of 31 free throws after going 15 of 24 in the season's first three games.

While engaging in some friendly trash talk with former teammate Drew Gooden, James scored 14 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a reverse layup he spun in off the glass right-handed while driving to his left. Over the final 5:05 of the quarter, James had a hand in all 18 of Cleveland's points, scoring 10 with three assists.

James added nine rebounds and six assists in 36 minutes. He arrived at the game wearing a T-shirt with president-elect Barack Obama's likeness on it and was asked if he would consider a future in politics, perhaps as the mayor of Akron, his hometown.

"Mayor of Akron?" he said. "I'm already mayor of Akron. I've been that for about 10 years now."

Ilgauskas made his sixth career 3-pointer and Delonte West had 16 points for the Cavs, who didn't put it away until the final minutes.

Ben Gordon scored a season-high 31 and rookie Derrick Rose 20 for the Bulls, who dropped to 0-3 on the road. Luol Deng had 18 points after scoring just one on Monday in a loss Orlando.

The Cavs led by 12 entering the fourth, but with James on the bench, the Bulls made their move.

Gordon made two jumpers and scored seven points to pull Chicago within 90-83 with 6:54 left, prompting Cavs coach Mike Brown to send James back in.

It didn't take him long to make a difference.

Following a wild scramble for a loose ball near mid-court, James drove to the basket and was fouled by Gooden while hitting a layup. He dropped his free throw to complete the three-point play, giving the Cavs a 10-point lead and breathing room. James then hit a short jumper and tipped in his own miss to make it 97-83 with 3:08 left.

James rolled his left ankle late in the first when he landed on Kirk Hinrich's foot following a dunk.

As the Bulls pushed the ball up the floor, James was limping around under Cleveland's basket when Wally Szczerbiak made a steal and passed it ahead to his teammate, who scored on a left-handed layup before going out.

The Cavaliers closed the first half with a 10-2 spurt, triggered by Ilgauskas' first 3-pointer since Jan. 22, 2005.

Cleveland's big man grabbed a pass from James on the right side in front of Cleveland's bench and calmly set his feet before draining the long-range shot. The 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas is 6-for-38 in his career from beyond the arc.

Game notes
Pitcher CC Sabathia, who still keeps a home in the Cleveland area, attended the game as did rapper/actor Ludacris. ... With two steals in Dallas on Monday, James reached 700 in his career and became the youngest and fastest player to reach 700 steals, 10,000 points, 2,500 rebounds, 2,500 assists and 300 blocks. The 23-year-old did it in 395 games. Michael Jordan was the second fastest (417 games) and Kobe Bryant (26) the second youngest. ... It was James' 25th career game scoring at least 40 points.