The Cavaliers led by as many as 16 points Wednesday against the Nuggets, but looked like they might blow a chance to win their first game on their West Coast road trip. Luckily, the Cavaliers have LeBron James.
James finished with 39 points - including nine points in the final 1:41 - to repel a Denver comeback. He also had 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Helping James out were Larry Nance, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds in his second start, and Rodney Hood, who scored 15 points. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 36 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cavaliers led for all of Wednesday’s game until a Mason Plumlee bucket gave the Nuggets a two-point lead with 8:35 to play in the fourth quarter. At that point, Denver was on a 17-4 run and was entirely dominating the Cavs.
A barrage of threes of Kyle Korver, George Hill and Jeff Green gave the Cavs the lead back - and for good - mid way through the quarter, setting up James to close the show with the Cavs up 104-102.
With 1:41 to go, James scored a layup on Jokic for his first make since the 7:03 mark of the third quarter. He followed that up with a three-pointer with 1:11 to go. He followed that up with a fadeaway jumper from 12 feet with 41 seconds left and then another fadeaway jumper with 10.5 seconds to go, giving the Cavs a five-point cushion. James finished the night shooting 15-25 from the field, including 5-8 from three-point range.
The Cavs next play on Friday against the Clippers as part of a two games in three days stint in Los Angeles. Tipoff is at 10:30 p.m from Staples Center.