x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

James to the rescue as Cavs top division

The ace takes charge and quells the Pacers' surge in the final quarter to seal victory and Central Division title.

LeBron James shoots in the fourth quarter.
LeBron James shoots in the fourth quarter.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have clinched their second consecutive Central Division title - and LeBron James played a major role on making it happen.] James had 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Cleveland's 99-94 home victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. With the win, Cleveland (54-15) became the first NBA team this season to clinch their division.

"We have to cherish these moments and celebrate these moments," said the Cavs forward Mo Williams. "Our goal [last year] was so focused on a championship, we looked past clinching the division, clinching the play-offs and clinching home-court advantage. "All that makes the main goal that much sweeter." James made sure Cavalier fans had no reason to go home disappointed, taking over late after Indiana cut an 18-point Cleveland lead in the fourth quarter to one.

James had six points, two blocks, two steals and an assist in the final four minutes, including a nifty dunk behind his head after catching an alley-oop pass from Anderson Varejao. James fell a rebound and an assist shy of his second triple-double in two nights. "That's all phases of my game in a couple possessions," James said. "That solidifies who I am on both sides of the floor." Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan had a night to forget as they slumped to a 110-84 loss to the Orlando Magic.

Duncan, a 12-times All Star and three-times NBA Finals MVP, finished with five points and was one-for-10 from the field, the worst shooting performance of his career. "Just a bad game, mostly myself," Duncan said. "It kind of starts with me. We got caught in a rotation early and missed some shots, but I just didn't play well." "It's hard to play with Tim having an off night," said his teammate Manu Ginobili.

"I totally, blindly trust him. Just one of those game." Meanwhile, Michael Jordan was unanimously approved as controlling owner of the Charlotte Bobcats by the NBA Board of Governors. "We are pleased that Michael Jordan's purchase of majority ownership of the Bobcats was approved and closed in such a smooth and expeditious fashion," said David Stern, the NBA Commissioner. "We look forward to the continued growth of the Bobcats, on and off the court, under his leadership." Jordan was already an investor and head of basketball operations for the team. * With agencies