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NBA: Cavs, LeBron sting Hornets

CLEVELAND (AP) – Standing at midcourt, LeBron James spun the ball on his index finger as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

He had the Hornets turning in circles all night.

James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over Charlotte on Saturday.

James did it all, making five 3-pointers and adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

“A lot of our guys had heavy legs tonight and it was up to me to get through it,” he said.

“He carried us,” teammate Kevin Love said. “I kept telling him, `Take us home.”

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau.

The 31-year-old is the only player with 27,000 points, 7,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds.

Rockets 109, Mavericks 87
The Houston Rockets still had a double-digit lead, but had gotten a little careless and had three turnovers in a row in the third quarter on Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks when coach Mike D’Antoni had seen enough.

“Coach went off a little bit,” Trevor Ariza said. “I think that was the turning point for us to get our head in the game and for us to start playing the way we normally play.”

Soon after that, Ariza — who finished with 17 points — made three straight 3-pointers to pad the lead and the Rockets beat the Mavericks 109-87 for their sixth straight win.

“They turned it on when they needed to and then as a coach you kind of feel silly sometimes … (but) you just try to caution them because things happen and they’re a good 3-point shooting team, they get hot,” D’Antoni said.