(Reuters) – LeBron James resurrected Cleveland’s stagnant season, for one night at least, when he hit a game-winning buzzer-beater to lift the Cavaliers to a 140-138 overtime home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
After Cleveland called timeout in the backcourt with one second left, James caught a long pass near the foul line.
Under pressure from Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, the four-times league MVP spun around and launched a fadeaway jumper from the top of the key over the top of the lunging defender.
The ball caught nothing but net, sending the crowd into delirium as the team’s recent woes were temporarily forgotten.
“Coach (Tyronn) Lue called up a great play, Jeff Green gave me a heck of a pass and I just trusted my instincts and let it go,” James said in a courtside interview.
The win helped ease the pressure on James and a team that was whipped by the lowly Orlando Magic the previous day.
“It was a great win for us. We needed this after that tough loss last night to Orlando,” James continued.
“They (Minnesota) shot 58 percent from the field and we were still able to get a win. We played Cavaliers basketball tonight and that’s all you could ask.”
The win lifted the Cavaliers to 31-22, seven games behind the East-leading Boston Celtics.
The Cavaliers have struggled this season after making the NBA finals for the past three years, beating the Golden State Warriors once and losing to the same team the other two times.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Adelaide, South Australia; Editing by John O’Brien)