x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Last-gasp James is Cavs hero

LeBron James hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a dramatic victory over the Orlando Magic and level their finals series.

LeBron James hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers a dramatic 96-95 victory over the Orlando Magic to level their Eastern Conference finals series at 1-1 on Friday night. James took an inbound pass from Mo Williams before quickly shooting over Hedo Turkoglu from 23 feet to delight the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena, who had witnessed only their third home defeat of the season in Game One.

"We just couldn't afford to go down 0-2 in this series going back to Orlando," said James. "Rashard (Lewis) hit a game-winner in Game One and I matched him with one in Game Two. It was a great shot." James' heroics capped an impressive 35 point performance, while Williams added 19, five rebounds and five assists for the Cavaliers . Centre Zydrunas Ilgauskas also had 15 rebounds and 12 points for the Cavaliers, who travel to Orlando for Game Three tonight, where they have lost twice this season already in competitive action.

Lewis led Orlando with 23 points, while Hedo Turkoglu contributed 21. Cleveland stormed out to a 30-16 first quarter lead and led by 12 at 56-44 at half-time. But the Magic trimmed the deficit with 25-19 third quarter and looked to have done enough after outscoring Cleveland 26-18 in the fourth until James lived up to his MVP tag. Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy was upset with his decision to guard James on the last play.

"That one obviously hurts quite a bit," he told ESPN. "I'd like to have that last one back from a coaching standpoint. "I should have defended it differently. It's crushing enough to lose as a coach, but when you feel like you're the guy who could've made the difference, it hurts a lot more. I just want to win and we should have won." * PA Sport