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LeBron scores 51 as Cavs silence the Jazz at Delta Center

LeBron scores 51 as Cavs silence the Jazz at Delta Center

LeBron James, like many of his Cavaliers teammates, has bumps and bruises aplenty. But what he needed the most was some salve on his bruised ego.

It's been a rough go of it for James of late, with some questioning his clutch play and even his will power.

His answer Saturday night was simply profound.

James' vintage virtuoso performance at the Delta Center couldn't erase the shortcomings and missed chances of the past week, but there was a statement made indeed.

Playing on a bruised right knee that almost kept him out of the lineup, James poured in 51 points - the third-highest total of his career - to lead the Cavaliers to a 108-90 victory over the Utah Jazz.

It was the third time in his career James has scored 50 or more, and he became the youngest player in history to score 5,000 points.

He finished the game in a flurry, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cavs turn a tight game into a rout.

He did it by making 19-of-35 shots.

He also had a game-high eight assists.

He even won over Jazz fans, who gave him an ovation when he exited in the fourth quarter.

More importantly, the win finally broke the Cavs' (21-17) streak of six consecutive losses and salvaged a miserable West Coast road trip at 1-5.

"My whole career I've been shutting up critics and this is just another stepping stone to doing that," James said.

"It was a big win for us. We never gave up on ourselves."

After seeing a team of doctors and being bent, pushed, twisted and X-rayed, James' bruised right knee was cleared for takeoff just before game time.

He was cautious on it at times but it surely did not seem to bother him much.

Either that or the black tights he was sporting have some sort of unknown therapeutic powers.

Either way, those tights are probably here to stay.

In other NBa action: Orlando 83, Sacramento 78, OT; New Orleans 109, New York 98; Chicago 101, Indiana 89; Milwaukee 101, Charlotte 91; New Jersey 103, Boston 83.