James has 50 points, leads Cavs over Knicks

March 6, 2008 9:42:52 AM PST
The "MVP!" chants weren't enough for one fan, who had to come on the court to tell LeBron James how much he appreciated the superstar's spectacular performance. That only made one of the best nights of James' career even better.James had 50 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to win over the Madison Square Garden crowd and lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-105 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

He shot 16-of-30 from the field, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, in his second 50-point game this season. He exited with fans standing and chanting "MVP!" in the final minute. One fan in a Cavaliers jersey ran onto the floor toward the Cleveland bench, even saying a few words to James, before being turned away by security and arrested.

"I've dreamed about playing well in this building and it's overtaken of how I could ever dream about," James said. "To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me."

It could have been scary, with 17-year-old Anthony Erskine from Mount Vernon coming right up to James to talk to him on the bench after James had departed for good with 23 seconds left.

"It was a great feeling. You get a fan to come down there to express the way he feels about you ... told me I was his favorite player, that never happens," James said. "I respect him. I respect his pride and for him to come out there and tell me something like that face to face. It's like the (most) unbelievable thing that ever happened to me."

Erksine said he's been a fan since James was a senior in high school, in 2002. "I never got a chance to see him in person, and that's my favorite player. I want to be just like him. I never got a chance to meet him. So I finally got a chance to meet him in person," Erskine said.

"I never thought I would get a chance to see him again, so I figured 'Why not?"'

James said he was never afraid when he saw Erskine coming. "I'm 6-9 and 260," James said. "I'm all right."

The NBA's scoring leader had 45 points in a victory over the Knicks in Cleveland on Nov. 2. He fell two points shy of Kobe Bryant's NBA-best this season. The Lakers' star had a 52-point game on Sunday against Dallas.

James became the first player with at least 50 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Jan. 19, 1975.

"You can't take it for granted because he's that good. He's just a great player," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "I try not to because coaching a guy like that, working with a guy like that, it's probably a once in a lifetime deal. You just try to take advantage of every second that you're with him."

Damon Jones added 15 points and Devin Brown had 14 for the Cavs, who won their third straight.

Jamal Crawford scored 25 points, Nate Robinson added 24 and Eddy Curry had 20 for the Knicks, who dropped their fourth in a row. Cleveland outscored New York 35-23 in the final quarter, with James hitting four 3-pointers.