It is not good to make LeBron James angry.
Frustrated by a couple of blocked shots, James took over against the Portland Trail Blazers and made a reverse layup with less than a second left to give the Cleveland Cavaliers an 84-83 victory Wednesday night.
James scored 17 points in the fourth quarter &
two more than the entire Portland team. Teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas said James became frustrated when he was blocked twice by Blazers center Joel Przybilla.
"LeBron came down the court and he was really angry at himself. And then he took over," Ilgauskas said. "I don't think he missed the rest of the game."
Portland led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but the Cavaliers closed in as time ran down. James, who had 37 points and 14 rebounds, hit three consecutive 3-pointers to tie it 81 with 2:26 left.
Travis Outlaw's jumper put the Blazers back in front, and they still held a narrow lead when Drew Gooden missed one of two free throws.
Steve Blake missed a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left, but Portland was able to stop Cleveland on the other end.
Brandon Roy ran down the clock, then missed a pressured 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds remaining. James' layup with 0.9 seconds left gave Cleveland its only lead of the half and the victory.
"I just wanted to take every possession like it was our last and be aggressive," James said. "I don't know when the turning point happened, but we were able to ride the wave and get a win."
The Cavaliers have won 13 of their last 16 games. They have won five straight road games for the first time since March 17-April 1, 1998.
Cleveland got a brief scare midway through the fourth quarter when James inadvertently collided with Portland guard Sergio Rodriguez. James grimaced and grasped at his left pinkie finger, but appeared fine after a timeout and earned his 13th double-double of the season.
Roy had 16 points and eight assists for the Blazers, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and nine rebounds. Portland's 35.3 percent shooting was a season low.
"We stepped up too late," Roy said of James' game-winner. "Once he got to into the paint we didn't want to foul him so a couple of guys shied away. We've got to force him into a jump shot in that situation."
The Blazers have only lost five of 23 home games this season.
Cleveland was coming off Sunday's 98-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. James scored 41 points in that game, when the Cavaliers lost forward Anderson Varejao to a left ankle sprain.
Varejao, who sprained the ankle when he accidentally stepped on Sasha Vujacic's foot, will miss up to four weeks. The Brazilian is averaging 7.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in 22 games.
The Cavaliers were already without starting guard Sasha Pavlovic for at least six weeks with a left mid-foot sprain.
The Blazers were coming off a dramatic, 94-93 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Portland came back from a 19-point deficit to win on Roy's free throw with 2.3 seconds left.
The Cavaliers led 13-6 early on James' dunk, but the Blazers ran off the next 10 points to go up 16-13, capped by Martell Webster's 3-pointer.
The Blazers extended the lead to 29-17 after Jarrett Jack made a pair of free throws. Cleveland came back to close within 33-31 on Devin Brown's running jumper.
The Blazers held on to the lead, going up 48-38 after James was called for an offensive foul and coach Mike Brown was levied a technical foul for protesting it.
Portland led 48-42 at the break.
The Blazers built on the lead in the third quarter. Aldridge's layup made it 66-52 for Portland.
But the Cavaliers are known for their comebacks. They have 10 wins when they trail to start the fourth quarter, most in the NBA.
"We know the game is not over until there are zeros on the clock," James said.
The Blazers' 15 points in the fourth quarter was a season low. ... Second-year Blazers Aldridge and Roy were selected to play on the sophomore team in the All-Star weekend's rookie challenge. "Not only are they both great young talents, but they're great ambassadors of our game as well," Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. "They've done so much to change the course of this franchise and in a very short period of time. I couldn't be more proud of them and this team." Roy would not play in the game if he is selected as an All-Star reserve. ... James told reporters at a practice at Nike headquarters Tuesday that he'd welcome Jason Kidd to Cleveland. Kidd expressed an interest in being traded from the Nets to ESPN The Magazine earlier this week. ... Nike co-founder Phil Knight was at the game, as was Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, an Oregon native.
Cavs beat Blazers on James' buzzer-beater