May 10, 2009

NBA: Cleveland 97, Atlanta 82

LeBron James scored 47 points Saturday to take the Cleveland Cavaliers within one game of a 4-0 sweep of Atlanta with a 97-82 win.

The best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal will end if Cleveland wins Game 4 Monday night.

Cleveland's lead was just 22-18 after the first period, but increased steadily and a 25-17 fourth quelled an Atlanta comeback.

James, the NBA MVP, sank 5-of-10 3-pointers and also had 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 14 with eight rebounds. Delonte West scored 12 with four rebounds, while Mo Williams added 11 points and three assists for the Cavaliers, who are on the verge of their second straight playoff sweep. They beat the Detroit Pistons 4-0 in the first round.

Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Josh Smith scored 18 with five rebounds, and Ronald Murray added 17 points with three assists for the Hawks, who closed to 88-79 with less than four minutes left before they ran out of gas.