CLEVELAND – The play is called “Chicago,” named after a game-winning shot LeBron James made in the playoffs to beat the Bulls.
It worked like a charm again in Cleveland.
James drained a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left and finished with 32 points as the Cavaliers tied a franchise record with their 13th straight win, 101-95 over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
James, who changed his sneakers three times, also had 11 rebounds and nine assists, helping Cleveland rally from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to remain unbeaten since Nov. 11. His decisive 3-pointer in the final minute over JaKarr Sampson came after James went to the bench during a timeout and told coach Tyronn Lue to run a play for him.
“Was going to run a different play and then Bron said, ‘I want Chicago.’ So I said, ‘OK,’ ” Lue said. “We got it to him and he made a big shot.”
After catching the inbounds pass, James took a dribble to his left and then stepped behind the line and knocked down his fifth 3-pointer.
“It felt good,” said James, who finished 12 of 18 from the floor. “I was able to get the laces where I wanted them and I got enough space, I created enough space with the step-back away from JaKarr and I was able to let it go. It felt good the whole time.”
The Cavs, who also won 13 straight in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, will try to break the team record Friday at Indiana.
This one wasn’t easy. The Kings gave the hosts everything they had, but couldn’t contain James in the clutch. That’s been the case for nearly every team that has faced the three-time champion, who is shooting with a confidence rarely seen in his career.
“He’s amazing,” said Kyle Korver, who opened the fourth quarter with three straight 3-pointers to give Cleveland the lead. “He’s just demanding the ball. He’s like, ‘Give me the ball, we’re about to win.’ And, I’ve been around some guys who’ve had amazing years. I’ve been playing with him and Derrick (Rose) when he was MVP. Allen Iverson when I was young.
“But he’s taken this to a whole new level. . .”
Zach Randolph had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Buddy Hield added 17 points for the Kings. Sampson grabbed 16 rebounds in his first start this season.
Warriors 101, Hornets 87
In Charlotte, Kevin Durant had 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Golden State beat Charlotte without injured stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.
It was Durant’s first triple-double of the season and his second since joining the Warriors before last season.
Klay Thompson scored seven of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Warriors, who have won five straight overall and seven in a row against the Hornets.
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 24 points.
Pelicans 123, Nuggets 114
In New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins had 40 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks, and the Pelicans won for the second time in three games without Anthony Davis.
Gary Harris scored 24 for short-handed Denver, which remained without recently injured frontcourt stalwarts Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap.
Celtics 97, Mavericks 90
In Boston, Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and Jayson Tatum had 17 points and 10 rebounds, helping the short-handed Celtics to their fourth straight victory.
Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 19 points and seven rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points and six boards.
Knicks 99, Grizzlies 88
In New York, Courtney Lee scored 24 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 18 after a slow start in his return to the lineup, helping the Knicks prevail over Memphis.
Marc Gasol had 17 points for the Grizzlies, who were playing for the first time since ending their 11-game skid with a victory over Minnesota on Monday.
Bucks 104, Pistons 100
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a 25-point, nine-rebound performance to lead the Bucks past Detroit.
Khris Middleton added 21 points for the hosts, including four free throws in the final 20 seconds.
The Pistons lost their fourth straight. Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 27 points and 20 rebounds.
Spurs 117, Heat 105
In San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points in a triumph over Miami as the Spurs chalked up their sixth win in seven games.
San Antonio shot 52.9 percent from the field and had seven players score in double figures. Bryn Forbes had 17 points, and Rudy Gay finished with 16 in the Spurs’ eighth straight win over Miami.
Tyler Johnson led the Heat with 25 points, and Dion Waiters had 22.
Pacers 98, Bulls 96
In Indianapolis, Victor Oladipo scored 27 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 31.1 seconds left that lifted the Pacers to a comeback victory over Chicago.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 17 points for Indiana, while Darren Collison finished with 14. Myles Turner contributed 11 points and blocked four shots, and Thaddeus Young finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Kris Dunn had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Bulls.
Magic 110, Hawks 106 (OT)
In Orlando, Evan Fournier had 27 points before departing with a right ankle injury, and the Magic rallied in overtime against Atlanta.
Aaron Gordon had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Orlando, and Nikola Vucevic added 22 points and 16 rebounds.
Dennis Schroder paced the Hawks with 26 points and seven assists. Taurean Prince had 19 points.
The Magic hit 6 of 10 shots in overtime, five of them layups against a tired and ineffective defense.
Timberwolves 113, Clippers 107
In Los Angeles, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Minnesota’s narrow victory over the Clippers.
Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague each scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, who placed six players in double figures. Andrew Wiggins and Taj Gibson had 16 apiece, and Jamal Crawford finished with 11 points.
Los Angeles dropped its fourth straight game despite an impressive performance by DeAndre Jordan, who had 18 points and 21 rebounds. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers each scored 23 points for the Clippers.