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Friday, Dec. 25, 2009

Cavs hold off Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) For 48 exhilarating minutes, the young Sacramento Kings stayed right with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers and even had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation.

When the game got tight, so did Cleveland's defense.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit three 3-pointers in the extra session on the way to a season-high 25 points and James keyed a defensive effort that kept the Kings scoreless in overtime and gave the Cavaliers a 117-104 victory Wednesday night.

"The fourth quarter is where we make our mark defensively," James said. "We hate to continue letting teams get comfortable those first three quarters. It's a great thing for us to be able to turn it on defensively like that, but we need to learn how to do it for 48 minutes."

James had 34 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double of the season, but it was his defense in the fourth quarter and overtime against rookie Tyreke Evans that proved to be the difference. The Kings shot just 8-for-27 after the third quarter, missing all seven shots in overtime.

Evans finished with 28 points, but made only one of eight shots in the fourth and overtime as the Cavaliers put James on him in a sign of respect.

Thunder 117, Suns 113

In Phoenix, Kevin Durant scored 38 points, including a key jumper from behind the key with 14.4 seconds left, and Oklahoma City ended its nine-game losing streak to the Suns.

Amare Stoudemire had a season-high 35 points and 14 rebounds for Phoenix.

Nuggets 124, Hawks 104

In Denver, reserve J.R. Smith scored a season-high 41 points, hitting 10 3-pointers to power the Nuggets to the win.

Magic 102, Rockets 87

In Orlando, Dwight Howard had 20 rebounds and 13 points to lead the Magic to the easy win.

Trail Blazers 98, Spurs 94

In San Antonio, Jerryd Bayless scored a career-high 31 points in his first start for injured All-Star Brandon Roy, leading the hobbled Trail Blazers to their third straight win.

Heat 80, Jazz 70

In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 29 points and the Heat held Utah to its lowest offensive output of the season.

Raptors 94, Pistons 64

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Andrea Bargnani scored 21 points, Hedo Turkoglu added 11 points and a season-best 11 assists and Toronto clamped down on the short-handed Pistons.

Hornets 108, Warriors 102

In New Orleans, Chris Paul scored 20 points and the Hornets handed Golden State its seventh straight loss.

Wizards 109, Bucks 97

In Milwaukee, Antawn Jamison had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Earl Boykins scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, leading Washington to a victory over the Bucks.

Timberwolves 103, Nets 99

In East Rutherford, N.J., Al Jefferson scored a season-high 27 points and Minnesota got a favorable videotape review in the final minute of the matchup between the NBA's worst teams.

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