James matched a season-high with 41 points in a season-best 43 minutes and Mo Willams scored 16 against his former team, leading the Cavaliers to their fifth straight win, 99-93 over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
It was the third time in four games that James has scored exactly 41.
"I'm not doing it on purpose," he said.
The All-Star forward, who twice topped out at 41 points in wins over Chicago last week, scored 12 in the fourth quarter and didn't come out in the second half for the Cavaliers, who committed just one turnover -- a 24-second violation -- after halftime.
"LeBron is LeBron," said Cavs coach Mike Brown, who would prefer to keep his superstar under 40 minutes. "We needed all 42 minutes, 46 seconds of him on the floor."
With Cleveland leading by five in the fourth, James poked away a pass intended for Richard Jefferson, streaked to the other end and lifted off one step inside the foul line before smashing the ball through the hoop. Moments later, he dropped a 20-foot jumper and then drove through the lane for a finger roll to give the Cavs an 11-point lead.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 15 points and Anderson Varejao had 13 -- 8 on 4-of-4 shooting in the fourth quarter -- with 10 rebounds for Cleveland, which didn't put Milwaukee away until the final four minutes.
"We'll take the win," said a tired James, who got a massage in the locker room afterward. "But we have to continue to get better for the long term."
Redd tried to practice on Tuesday, but "was noticeably limping," coach Scott Skiles said. "It was clear he wasn't ready."
Without Redd, Skiles and the Bucks had no answer at either end for James.
"He had 41 and he made it look easy," Skiles said. "We tried switching a little bit. My only real complaint would be that we're still not aggressive enough on someone like that. The better players right now are putting up big numbers on us. LeBron is going to get his numbers -- 16 for 24 -- that's a pretty easy night for him.
"A couple of times we did a good job on him, but he was finding other people because we had a couple of other guys asleep."
Williams, acquired by Cleveland in a trade this summer from Milwaukee, downplayed his first matchup against his old team saying beforehand that it was "just another day."
His new teammates played as if it was just another game for much of the night before closing out the Bucks, who were within 88-83 when James made his game-sealing steal and dunk.
"I had fun," said Williams, who was bothered by an upset stomach all game, "and 'Bron was 'Bron."
Williams said he take any extra satisfaction in beating the Bucks, his team for four seasons.
"I wasn't overly hyped or overly motivated as I was when I got traded," he said. "Did it feel good to beat them? Yeah."
The Cavs led by six points at half and quickly pushed their lead to 11 as Williams hit a 3-pointer and made two free throws to open the third quarter.
But Ridnour got hot. He hit two 3-pointers and went 5-for-5 from the field in the period as Milwaukee opened a 69-66 lead with 2:20 left. James, though, responded by making three straight outside jumpers, the last one at the horn to give Cleveland a 74-71 lead entering the fourth.
James was in China at the Beijing Olympics when the Cavaliers acquired Williams, trading forward Joe Smith and guard Damon Jones in a three-team deal with Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. Jones isn't even with the Bucks, who are allowing him to pursue other opportunities in the league.
James couldn't remember his first thought at learning of the deal, but he knew he liked it.
"I knew the type of player that he was," James said. "He has explosiveness. He took over games."
He did against the Cavs. Williams helped Milwaukee go 3-1 against Cleveland last season, averaging 26 points and nine assists in the four games.
This season, Williams has stabilized Cleveland's backcourt, given the club another scoring option and become the point guard the Cavs have coveted since James turned pro. Williams has been everything the Cavs could have hoped for.
"Even a little bit more," James said.
And James has been even more than Williams imagined.
"I could go on and on about how great a player he is," Williams said. "He cares about his players and his teammates. Just like we don't go anywhere without him, he doesn't go anywhere without us."
|The Bucks have a nightmarish time trying to cover LeBron James, who scores 12 in the fourth. (AP)|
|Cleveland (6-2) «||23||25||26||25||99|
|MIL:R. Jefferson 19 Pts
MIL:C. Villanueva 10 Reb
MIL:L. Ridnour 4 Ast
|CLE:L. James 41 Pts
CLE:Z. Ilgauskas 10 Reb
CLE:L. James 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|L. Ridnour, PG||37||6-16||2-2||4||4||5||17|
|C. Villanueva, PF||36||4-15||4-4||10||4||0||12|
|R. Jefferson, SF||34||6-12||5-5||6||2||2||19|
|C. Bell, SG||33||5-11||1-2||3||1||1||13|
|A. Bogut, C||20||2-7||1-2||7||0||5||5|
|L. Mbah a Moute, SF||31||1-4||5-8||9||0||5||7|
|R. Sessions, PG||26||3-9||4-4||1||4||3||10|
|F. Elson, C||15||2-3||2-2||3||1||3||6|
|J. Alexander, SF||10||1-2||2-2||2||0||2||4|
|A. Croshere, PF||Did Not Play|
|T. Lue, PG||Did Not Play|
|D. Jones, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Redd, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Allen, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Gadzuric, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|L. James, SF||43||16-24||8-10||5||6||2||41|
|D. West, SG||38||5-7||0-0||3||5||2||11|
|M. Williams, PG||34||3-11||9-10||1||5||3||16|
|Z. Ilgauskas, C||24||6-10||3-3||10||3||3||15|
|B. Wallace, C||21||0-3||0-0||4||1||1||0|
|W. Szczerbiak, SF||24||0-3||0-2||1||0||4||0|
|A. Varejao, C||23||5-5||3-3||10||0||5||13|
|D. Gibson, PG||23||0-8||0-0||2||0||2||0|
|S. Pavlovic, SG||5||0-0||2-2||0||0||1||2|
|J. Hickson, PF||5||0-1||1-2||0||0||0||1|
|E. Snow, PG||Did Not Play|
|L. Wright, C||Did Not Play|
|J. Williams, F||Did Not Play|
|T. Kinsey, SF||Did Not Play|
|D. Jackson, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|