CHICAGO - LeBron James scored 39 points, including seven in overtime, and Larry Hughes added 21 to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 112-108 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
Cleveland leads Chicago by 1Â½ games for second place in the Eastern Conference. The three division winners are guaranteed spots in the top four playoff seeds, meaning the Bulls would be seeded fifth despite holding the third-best record in the conference.
Trailing 108-104 with a minute left in overtime, James drove to the basket and converted a three-point play. He banked in the jumper in the lane to cut the lead to 108-107 with 42.3 seconds left. Then Ben Gordon drove to the lane and missed with a wild shot, James got the rebound and put the Cavs ahead for good with a jumper in the lane, giving Cleveland a 109-108 lead with 20.7 seconds left.
Gordon finished with 37 points and Tyrus Thomas had a career-high 27 points with eight rebounds.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A foul-plagued Vince Carter scored 13 of his 19 points in the third quarter and New Jersey posted one of its best defensive games of the season with a victory.
Richard Jefferson added 14 points and Jason Kidd had 12 and eight assists as the Nets pushed the 76ers five games behind in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has nine games left.
Veteran Clifford Robinson scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter as Lawrence Frank won his 150th game, tops among all Nets coaches.
Andre Miller and Joe Smith had 14 points apiece for the 76ers, who were a woeful 11-of-22 from the free throw line. Andre Iguodala finished with 13 points.
OKLAHOMA CITY - David West scored 20 points and New Orleans held New York to one field goal in overtime.
Chris Paul scored seven of his 16 points in the extra period, when the Knicks went 1-for-8 from the field.
Desmond Mason's runner in the lane gave New Orleans the lead at the outset of overtime, and Paul added a 3-pointer from the left wing that put the Hornets ahead 97-92. Paul added a jumper and then set up Mason's right-handed jam before hitting two free throws to provide the final margin. Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury led New York back from an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes of regulation, and Nate Robinson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 10 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Curry scored 34 points for his highest output since Dec. 9, and Marbury had 16 points. Curry also had 13 rebounds.