CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Cavaliers are down to their third point guard. Their fourth might be the best in the NBA.
LeBron James had 37 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds and Daniel Gibson hit a 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining to carry Cleveland to a 100-99 win over Oklahoma City on Saturday night. It was the Thunder’s second loss in two nights in the final seconds.
Shaquille O’Neal had a season-high 22 points for Cleveland (34-11).
Injuries to Mo Williams and Delonte West forced Gibson into a starting role for the first time since Dec. 23, 2007. But James ran the Cavs’ offense most of the night, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter and sealing the win with a huge block on Kevin Durant with 0.9 seconds remaining.
“It’s just timing. You have to time it up perfect,” James said. “I jumped when he jumped, and luckily he landed a little bit before I did.”
Durant had 34 points, and Russell Westbrook added 23 for Oklahoma City, which concluded its longest trip of the season by playing for the third time in four nights. The Thunder (24-20) lost to Memphis on Friday night when Rudy Gay hit a 20-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Oklahoma City’s past four losses have come by a combined five points.
“It’s a tough league,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.