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James leads Cavaliers to 12th straight win

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 32 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their 12th straight win Tuesday night, a 104-97 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

The win gives Cleveland the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. The Cavaliers (42-11) also have the best record in the league.

New Jersey (4-47) has the NBA's worst record and has lost seven straight. The Nets played without point guard Devin Harris, who has a sprained left shoulder. Courtney Lee led the Nets with 24 points.

James, who was named the Eastern Conference's player of the week for the fifth time this season Monday, was 13-of-21 from the field with 11 assists and three rebounds.

Jawad Willams scored a career-high 17 points while Anderson Varejao added 15 for Cleveland.

The Nets built an eight-point lead in the first quarter thanks primarily to 11 points by Jarvis Hayes, who hit three 3-pointers. Cleveland scored the last seven points of the quarter and went ahead for good early in the second period.

The Cavaliers' spurt was capped when with a highlight reel play at both ends of the court. It began when Shaquille O'Neal blocked Brook Lopez's shot at the basket. The 7-foot-1, 325-pound center grabbed the ball and dribbled up the floor before finding James on the wing. James made a perfect alley-oop pass to Varejao, who finished the play with a dunk, bringing the crowd to its feet. O'Neal then gave Varejao a resounding chest bump and the Nets called timeout.

James converted his own dunk off a lob pass from Daniel Gibson moments later.

The Cavaliers led by six points at halftime and stretched the margin to 10 on two occasions. The Nets cut the lead to four late in the period, but the Cavaliers put the game away with away with a 13-2 run to start the fourth quarter. Jawad Williams hit two 3-pointers while James added a 3-pointer and a fast break dunk, which built the lead to 91-74.

Lopez scored 23 points and Hayes added 19 for the Nets.

The Cavaliers are a league-best 23-3 at home, winning 10 straight and 21 of 22. The Nets have lost 15 straight on the road and are 1-27 away from home.

Cleveland hosts Orlando on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals, which the Magic won in six games.

NOTES: Cleveland is 3-0 against New Jersey this season and has won seven straight in the series. ... Cleveland played without guard Delonte West (broken left finger) for the ninth straight game. ... Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were hit with technical fouls for arguing with an official. ... Nets swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts, who averages 12.2 points, didn't play Tuesday night. He left Saturday's game with back spasms ... The Nets are hopeful Harris, who is averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 assists, can return Wednesday against Milwaukee.