There's something about the Chicago Bulls that brings out the best in LeBron James, dpa reported.
James scored 41 points against the Bulls for the second time in less than a week, powering the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-97 road victory Saturday night.
Lithuania's Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 points and Brazil's Anderson Varejao added 13 for the Cavaliers, who have won four straight games - including two against the Bulls - with James leading the way.
James failed to score 30 points in Cleveland's first four games before erupting for 41 in Wednesday's home win over Chicago.
Three days later, he matched that total and ended a season-long slump from three-point range.
James had made just 1-of-19 from the arc in his first six games but drained 4-of-7 on Saturday, including three in the fourth quarter.
Overall, he was 13-of-29 from the field and 11-of-13 from the line, adding a season-high 13 rebounds.
It was a seesaw game, with both teams building and blowing double- digit leads.
The Bulls led by 10 points in the third quarter but took just a 77-74 edge to the final period, when they went cold.
James made three free throws, a three-pointer and a tough driving bank shot to give the Cavs the lead for good.
Daniel Gibson added a three-pointer and drive before a jumper by Varejao capped a 15-0 burst and widened the advantage to 89-77 with 7:52 to go.
"The fourth quarter is where I make my name," said James, who has seven straight 30-point games against the Bulls. "That's the quarter where it's time to close the game out."
The Bulls battled back behind Ben Gordon, who scored eight points in a 13-2 surge that cut the deficit to 96-94 with 2:15 left.
James drilled with a three-pointer, then answered two free throws by Gordon with another three-pointer that rebuilt the margin to 102- 96 with 1:29 remaining and silenced the United Centre crowd.
"When you come into somebody's building and make big shots like that to quiet the crowd, those bring smiles to my face," James said.
In the final minute, James had a key offensive rebound and two free throws to seal the win.
Normally a reserve, Gordon started and scored 29 points.
Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro had to change his rotation when he learned earlier Saturday that point guard Kirk Hinrich has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery and sideline him for 12 weeks.
"With Kirk out, we're going to have to really jell quickly and get to know each other so we can help each other out," Gordon admitted.
Britain's Luol Deng scored 20 points, top draft pick Derrick Rose had 17 and nine assists and Argentina's Andres Nocioni added 16 points for the Bulls, who lost at home for the first time this season and have dropped three of four overall.
Phoenix 104, Milwaukee 96
Coach Terry Porter's idea to occasionally rest Shaquille O'Neal appears to be a good one.
O'Neal, who sat out Friday's loss at Chicago, terrorized Australian Andrew Bogut for 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Suns never trailed against the host Bucks, who were without injured leading scorer Michael Redd for the third straight game.
"The big fella was great for us tonight and obviously had a serious presence in the post tonight," Porter said. "I'm all for that day off."
Orlando 106, Washington 81
Dwight Howard was overpowering with 31 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks as the host Magic won their fourth straight game. Nick Young scored 20 points for the winless Wizards (0-5).
New Orleans 100, Miami 89
Chris Paul had his sixth straight 20-10 game with 21 points and 13 assists while adding seven rebounds to help the host Hornets snap a two-game slide. Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who had won two in a row.
Indiana 98, New Jersey 80
Danny Granger scored 23 points to lead six players in double figures as Indiana pulled away in the second half. Vince Carter scored 31 points for visiting New Jersey.
Portland 97, Minnesota 93
At Portland, Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points each and Roy sank the go-ahead basket with 31 seconds left. Al Jefferson scored 27 points for Minnesota.