Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) jumps high toward the basket against the New Jersey Nets in the fourth quarter Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2004, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won, 103-97.
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
CLEVELAND LeBron James scored 27 points and assisted on Lucious Harris' clinching 3-pointer with 6 seconds left as the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers won their eighth straight at home, 103-97 over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.
At 12-6, the Cavaliers have the best record in the NBA's Eastern Conference the first time they've had that distinction after 15 games since March 21, 1989, when they were 48-17.
After his two free throws put the Cavaliers up 97-93 with 1:35 to play, James stole Richard Jefferson's crosscourt pass and streaked in for a thunderous slam dunk.
The Nets pulled within 100-97 on Jason Collins' tip with 30.9 seconds to go, but James fed Harris in the right corner and the shooting guard, who spent seven seasons with the Nets before signing with Cleveland as a free agent last summer, drilled his 3.
Mavericks 97, Timberwolves 87
MINNEAPOLIS Dirk Nowitzki scored 34 points, including 23 in the second half, to snap the Timberwolves' five-game winning streak.
Josh Howard had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavericks, who overcame the early ejection of coach Don Nelson and outrebounded Minnesota 54-35 to win for the third time in four games.
Kevin Garnett had 32 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Minnesota, which was playing without starter Latrell Sprewell. Sprewell was suspended for one game by the NBA for yelling a sexual vulgarity at a female fan in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Bucks 89, Pacers 86
INDIANAPOLIS Michael Redd scored 28 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their first road win of the season.
Desmond Mason added 21 points and seven rebounds for the Bucks, who opened with seven straight road losses before breaking through against Indiana thanks in large part to a 48-34 rebounding advantage.
It was the fifth straight loss for the Pacers, the longest losing streak for Indiana under second-year coach Rick Carlisle.
Redd hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for an 87-83 lead with 7 seconds left. Fred Jones hit a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds to play, but Milwaukee inbounded the ball, Redd hit two free throws and Anthony Johnson missed a wide open 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
Grizzlies 96, Knicks 88
MEMPHIS, Tenn. Earl Watson scored a career-high 22 points, missing only one of his 10 shots, and Mike Miller added 20.
Watson, filling in after starter Jason Williams went on the injured list, also had five assists.
The Grizzlies led by as many as 15 late in the third period, and the Knicks got no closer than the final margin in the fourth quarter while dropping their third straight.
Rockets 89, Hornets 81
HOUSTON Yao Ming scored 21 points and had nine rebounds, and backup point guard Andre Barrett scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Tracy McGrady had his second straight poor shooting night, shooting just 7-of-19 including 1-of-8 from 3-point range to finish with 18 points. He shot just 7-of-23 Saturday against the 76ers but scored the winning basket with 25 seconds to play.
Suns 118, Warriors 104
PHOENIX Steve Nash had 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, when the Phoenix Suns rallied from seven points down.
Amare Stoudemire had 33 points and 11 rebounds, Shawn Marion had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Joe Johnson chipped in 20 points as the Suns won for the 12th time in 13 games.
Kings 109, Bobcats 92
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Peja Stojakovic had season highs of 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Brad Miller scored 27 points in the Sacramento Kings' 12th victory in 13 games.
With Chris Webber sitting out to rest his sore left knee, Darius Songaila matched his career high with 17 points and 11 rebounds in Sacramento's fifth straight win.
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