CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The NBA-leading Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Atlanta Hawks 93-88 on Friday to reach the 60-wins mark for the second successive season.
LeBron James moved up a gear in the second half, finishing the game with 27 points and 13 rebounds, as the Cavaliers (60-16) secured their 10th consecutive home win.
"Our goals are huge, much bigger than winning 60 games or clinching home court," James told reporters. "But when those happen you embrace it."
The Cavaliers went a league-leading 66-16 last season but were eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals, falling in six games to the Orlando Magic.
Atlanta kept the game close until the fourth quarter when they went more than six minutes without a field goal. Cleveland scored 14 consecutive points at one point in the quarter.
"Our guys did a great job of bringing the juice," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "They brought energy, effort and focus."
Guard Mo Williams chipped in with 24 points while forward J.J. Hickson had a career-high 16 rebounds as Cleveland improved to 34-4 at home this season. They have won 17 of their last 19.
James had 18 points in the second half.
"Early on I missed three lay-ups I usually make," James said. "So my confidence never got down, and I knew in the second half I was going to make those same shots."
Cleveland, though continuing to play without injured center Shaquille O'Neal, also dominated inside, forcing Atlanta to shoot jumpers.
"We're definitely cleaning the glass up and we all had to rebound," James said.
The loss was Atlanta's third in a row to Cleveland this season. The Hawks have faded in the fourth quarter of all three.
"I wish I knew (why)," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We've had close games against them, and we can't find any offense in the fourth quarter."
Josh Smith had 20 points for the playoff-bound Hawks (48-27), who trail Cleveland and Orlando in the Eastern Conference.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Alastair Himmer)