CLEVELAND - LeBron James scored 47 points, including 24 consecutive for Cleveland in the first half, and the Cavaliers held off the New York Knicks, 113-106, on Saturday night for their 11th win in a row.
James, who historically has saved some of his best performances for the Knicks, set a franchise record with 35 points in the first half. He finished one point shy of his season high while adding eight rebounds and eight assists.
He needed 5 minutes, 29 seconds to score 24 straight – 16 in a row to end the first quarter and eight straight to start the second. He closed the first quarter with four 3-pointers in the final two minutes, including a pair from 32 feet in the final 37 seconds.
James celebrated after the first quarter by charging toward the fans and throwing open his arms as the sellout crowd roared. With James’ free agency pending this summer and the woeful Knicks dreaming of him in New York blue and orange next season, the Knicks could only stand by and watch James embrace his hometown fans.
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But the Cavaliers still had to fight to hold on in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland led by as many as 24 points in the first half, but the Knicks cut the deficit to 109-106 on a basket by Jordan Hill with 2:19 to play.
James countered with a jumper from just inside the 3-point line, then grabbed the rebound following a miss by Al Harrington and stuck another jumper to make it 113-106 with less than a minute to play.
Ex-University of Washington star Nate Robinson, in his second start at point guard this season, had 26 points for New York.
Big games against the Knicks are nothing new to James. He had 52 points on Jan. 4, 2009, in New York, when he later had a triple-double taken away after video review. He scored 50 against them March. 5, 2008, and he had 45 at Cleveland on Nov. 2, 2007.
Walt Wesley previously held Cleveland’s record for points in a half with 34.