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Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - 8:30 PM ET
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LeBron goes on scoring binge in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (AP)

LeBron James scored 55 points, coming up just one shy of his career high, and put together a stunning scoring flourish after halftime that helped the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-103 on Friday night. James scored 16 points in the first 2 minutes, 50 seconds of the third quarter, almost single-handedly turning a six-point halftime deficit into an eight-point Cavaliers lead - and he could have scored two more if he hadn't missed a pair of free throws along the way. James scored his previous season high of 52 points at New York on Feb. 4. His career high of 56 came at Toronto on March 20, 2005. "Just got in the zone, man," James said. "I just kept going at it, man. Every shot that I made tonight, every shot that we all made tonight, we needed." And as if that wasn't enough action for one night, Milwaukee's Charlie Villanueva was ejected after a heated on-court confrontation with Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the fourth quarter. Still, James was the main attraction - especially on Cleveland's 18-4 third quarter run that began with Mo Williams' steal and layup, and the rest was all James. He banked in a jump shot, then proceeded to drain long 3-pointers on four of the Cavaliers' next five possessions. James hit back-to-back 3s, then was fouled on the next possession and missed both free throws. On the Cavs' next possession, James connected on a 3 from the left side over Milwaukee's Richard Jefferson. Jefferson answered with a jumper, but James hit yet another 3 - this time from the right side, bringing the Cavaliers' bench players to their feet in a raucous celebration. "It was almost like watching a video game," Ilgauskas said. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown fought the urge to cringe as James kept taking long-range 3 after long-range 3, each seemingly longer than the next. "I've just got to coach myself," Brown said. "I've got to make sure that I'm not overcoaching. And I just need to sit down, be quiet, and watch the show like everybody else." James' scoring spree wasn't over. After an offensive foul on Milwaukee, James hit a pull-up jumper on the wing with 9:10 left in the quarter, putting Cleveland up 69-61 and forcing Milwaukee to call a timeout. Despite James' scoring fireworks, the game remained close into the fourth quarter - when an offensive exhibition threatened to turn itself into a wrestling meet as tempers suddenly flared on both sides. With Cleveland leading 92-89 with 6:54 remaining, Villanueva delivered a hard foul on Cleveland's Anderson Varejao. Ilgauskas went after Villanueva and a shoving match ensued, with officials assessing a flagrant foul-2 on Villanueva and ejecting him. Ilgauskas was called for a technical foul. Villanueva had a team-high 26 points before his ejection, and the Bucks had trouble making up for his lost scoring afterward. Jefferson narrowed the Cleveland lead to 95-92 on a dunk with 6:23 remaining, but Cleveland answered with an 8-0 run that included 3-pointers by Ilgauskas and Williams and a jumper by James, bringing his point total to 53 for the night. James had a chance to set his career scoring high, but missed a jumper with 11 seconds remaining and the game already decided. James scored 25 points in the first half, but also had a handful of uncharacteristic bobbles as the Cavaliers fell behind. He fell to the floor in a collision with Charlie Bell in the second quarter and apparently cut himself, briefly returning to the bench to receive attention from the trainers before returning to the game. Later in the quarter, James kicked the ball out of bounds for a turnover - then lost his dribble a few possessions later, allowing Milwaukee rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to steal the ball and slam it home. But James left the court on a high note after draining a 33-footer just before the halftime buzzer, cutting the Bucks' lead to 57-51.
Tagged: Cavaliers, Bucks

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