CLEVELAND – One second. One shot. One player.
For one night, LeBron James made all of Cleveland’s problems disappear.
James dropped in a fade-away jumper over Jimmy Butler’s outstretched hand as the buzzer sounded in overtime, giving the Cavaliers a cleansing 140-138 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Moments after blocking Butler’s potential game-winning shot with 1.3 seconds left, James caught a long inbounds pass from Jeff Green, created some space from Butler near the foul line and sank a shot that ended Cleveland’s eight-game losing streak on national television.
“Once I caught it, I just trusted everything I’ve done in my career,” James said.
The Quicken Loans Arena crowd erupted and James was mobbed by teammates as the struggling Cavs, who have won just seven of their last 20 games, finally had something to celebrate after weeks of tension and turmoil in a season slowly slipping away.
But as he has done so many times, James delivered one of those moments that have defined him.
“The way we’ve been playing, we needed that,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who was back on the bench after falling ill Tuesday night in Orlando. “He was very special.”
James finished with 37 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in 48 minutes. The three-time NBA champion also passed Zydrunas Ilgauskas (5,904) on Cleveland’s career rebounds list.
Butler scored 35, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 for the Timberwolves.
Pistons 115, Nets 106
In Detroit, Andre Drummond had 17 points and 27 boards and the Pistons extended their winning streak to five by beating Brooklyn.
Blake Griffin scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit, which has not lost since acquiring him in a trade last week.
Spurs 129, Suns 81
In Phoenix, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points in 28 minutes and San Antonio routed the hosts, matching the most one-sided loss in Suns history.
Rockets 109, Heat 101
In Miami, James Harden scored 41 points and Houston topped the Heat for its sixth straight victory and 10th in 11 games.
Jazz 92, Grizzlies 88
In Memphis, Ricky Rubio had 29 points and eight rebounds, Rodney Hood scored 18 and Utah picked up its seventh straight victory.
Pacers at Pelicans — ppd.