LeBron sparks furious really in Cavs’ victory
James scores 33 points;
Lue returns as coach
LeBron James scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and brought the Cavaliers back from a 17-point deficit to stun the Washington Wizards 119-115 on Thursday night and maintain the No. 3 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs trailed 104-87 with 7:35 left before storming back behind James, who added 14 assists, nine rebounds and made sure coach Tyronn Lue got a win in his return after missing nine games due to health reasons.
Jeff Green added 21 points and Kevin Love had 16 for the Cavs, who are 10-1 since March 17, when Lue was forced to leave a game in Chicago with “piercing” chest pains. Lue, who has changed his diet and is taking sleep medication, has come back to a team that seems to be hitting its stride just in time for the playoffs.
But it took another of those patented James’ comebacks to down the Wizards, who have dropped seven of nine and are in a three-way battle with Milwaukee and Miami for playoff positioning.
Washington’s John Wall looked more like his speedy All-Star self in his third game back from knee surgery, scoring 28 points with 14 assists. But he had a costly turnover in the closing seconds and the Wizards couldn’t put away the Cavs down the stretch.
A basket by Markieff Morris gave the Wizards a 110-100 lead with 3:16 left, but James scored six straight, fed Green for layup, and Rodney Hood made two free throws to complete a 10-0 run by the Cavs.
Green’s two free throws — on a tough call against Washington — gave the Cavs a 116-115 lead, but after Walls missed a short jumper, James split a pair of three throws, giving Washington one last chance.
Wall drove the lane but his twisting pass back outside was stolen by rookie Cedi Osman, who made two free throws to close it out.
Playing in just his third game since surgery, Wall had that burst back in his first step and he found his touch after two tough games. Bradley Beal added 19 points, and Otto Porter had 18 for Washington.
Lue came back to a familiar situation as the Cavs, who have endured injuries for months, were missing point guards Jose Calderon (hamstring) and George Hill (ankle). Lue started Osman at point.
Wizards: Host Atlanta.
Cavaliers: At Philadelphia.