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James (51) seals deal

Cavaliers clinch the Central title

Associated Press / March 14, 2009
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LeBron James scored 51 points, including 6 in overtime, and the Cleveland Cavaliers clinched the Central Division title last night with a 126-123 victory over the Kings at Sacramento.

Although James failed to extend his triple-double streak to four games, he was clearly the difference, scoring a combined 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. He added nine assists while falling 4 points short of his career high.

Anderson Varejao had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which secured its first division title in 33 years and just the second in franchise history. Wally Szczerbiak scored 12 points and Mo Williams had 10 as the Cavs won their fourth straight and eighth in nine games to tie the Lakers for the NBA's best record at 52-13.

76ers 104, Bulls 101 - Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 31 points and Andre Iguodala had 25 to spark Philadelphia in the final NBA game at the 42-year-old Spectrum.

The Sixers were saved by a pair of clutch blocks in the final minutes. The first was Iguodala's rejection of Ben Gordon's shot, then Samuel Dalembert stuffed Derrick Rose in a play the Sixers turned into Young's clinching dunk.

Magic 112, Wizards 103 - Dwight Howard had 18 points, 13 rebounds, and a career-high 7 assists to help visiting Orlando earn its sixth victory in seven games.

Nick Young's fallaway jumper with seven minutes left pulled Washington within 91-90. And it was still only a 2-point game, the Magic up, 99-97, with 3 1/2 minutes to go, before Rashard Lewis's 3-pointer gave the visitors a bit of a cushion.

Pistons 99, Raptors 95 - Richard Hamilton had 24 points and 16 assists, Antonio McDyess added 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Detroit beat host Toronto in overtime.

Rodney Stuckey scored 17 points and Jason Maxiell matched a season high with 16 for Detroit, which swept the season series from Toronto for the first time since 1997-98. The Raptors have lost seven straight.

Hawks 101, Pacers 87 - Joe Johnson scored 30 points for the third straight game, and Al Horford finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds to lift host Atlanta to its fourth straight victory.

Johnson has gone 33 for 64 from the field in Atlanta's last three games to average 30.3 points.

T.J. Ford, who scored Indiana's last 14 points, finished with 29. Troy Murphy pulled down 14 rebounds - all defensive - for the Pacers, who have lost two straight and three of four.

Warriors 119, Mavericks 110 - Stephen Jackson scored 31 points, Monta Ellis had season highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Golden State put a dent into Dallas's playoff run.

Jason Kidd recorded his second triple-double of the season with 21 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Rockets 91, Bobcats 86 - Yao Ming scored 23 points, Ron Artest hit the go-ahead jumper and made the key defensive play as Houston recovered after blowing a late lead to beat host Charlotte.

Artest's jumper with 22 seconds left put Houston ahead, and after Aaron Brooks hit two free throws, Artest came from behind to block Vladimir Radmanovic's game-tying 3-point attempt. Artest picked up the ball and raced in for a layup to put it away.

Knicks 102, Timberwolves 94 - Nate Robinson scored 25 points and Wilson Chandler added 24 to spark visiting New York to its third straight victory.

Ryan Gomes tied his season high with 28 points and Sebastian Telfair added 22 for Minnesota, which fell to 2-13 without Al Jefferson.

Hornets 95, Bucks 86 - Chris Paul had 30 points and Rasual Butler hit a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch to help New Orleans grab a victory in Milwaukee. David West added 21 for the Hornets, who have won nine of their last 10 games.

Trail Blazers 109, Nets 100 - Brandon Roy scored 31 points, including 24 in the second half, and host Portland rallied from 11 down to beat New Jersey.

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