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James pours in 57 as Cavs topple Wizards

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Four-time league MVP LeBron James poured in 57 points for the second-best scoring performance of his career as the Cleveland Cavaliers busted out of a slump with a 130-122 win over the Washington Wizards.

James also delivered 11 rebounds and seven assists on Friday for the Cavaliers, who shot 56 percent from the field and improved to 4-5 on the season.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) dunks against Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during their NBA game in Washington. The Cavaliers won, 130-122. (AP)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) dunks against Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during their NBA game in Washington. The Cavaliers won, 130-122. (AP)

The 32-year-old American sank 23 of 34 shots – including two three-pointers – and made all nine of his free throw attempts in front of 20,100 crowd at the Capital One Arena in the US capital.

“I don’t want to give myself a ceiling. I don’t want to cap myself,” said James, who recorded his first 50-point game since returning to his hometown Cavaliers. “I want to be as complete a basketball player as I can be.”

Derrick Rose added 20 points for the Cavaliers, who lost three games during their four-game losing skid by double digits.

Both teams were struggling heading into Friday’s game as the Wizards only added to their woes, having now lost four of their last five.

Bradley Beal scored 36 points for Washington. John Wall had 13 points and 15 assists as the Wizards shot 53.6 percent from the field.

James, who is in his 15th NBA season, finished just four points shy of his career-high 61 set in 2014 against the Charlotte Bobcats.

But there is also something about playing the Wizards that seems to bring out the best in James.

In February, James banked home the game-tying three point shot in the closing seconds of regulation and Cleveland went on to beat Washington 140-135 in overtime in a contest that some considered to be the league’s 2016-17 regular-season game of the year.

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