James had 38 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their third straight game, 106-97 on Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers were winning 94-93 with 3:17 left when Donyell Marshall hit a 3-pointer that started a 12-4 run that ended the game. Marshall, who buried another 3 with 58.1 seconds remaining for a 104-95 lead.
James hit 15 of 20 free-throw attempts, compared to 16 of 22 for the Hawks. He scored on consecutive possessions early in the fourth, the second of which came on a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 92-86 lead.
“Coming off a back-to-back, with a big win last night against Indiana, it would have been easy for us to not bring intensity,” James said. “Early on, our team didn’t have intensity. I saw that and I had to pretty much take over matters. I’ve been able to take my team on my back.”
Joe Johnson scored 24 points and Al Harrington added 22 for the Hawks, who have lost seven of their last nine.
Drew Gooden finished with 14 rebounds.
Cleveland outscored Atlanta 23-8 on fastbreak points, including a layup by James that cut the Hawks’ lead to 82-80 with 10:25 left in the game.
James had two of his three steals in the fourth.
Each of Marshall’s four field goals was a 3-pointer. He attempted six shots beyond the arc, eight overall.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half for Cleveland
Cleveland improved to 8-1 in its last nine meetings with Atlanta, including four straight wins at Philips Arena.
Eric Snow had a game-high eight assists.
The Cavs entered with a league-best .417 opponents’ field-goal percentage since Jan. 15, but the Hawks shot 50.7 percent.
LeBron James didn’t appreciate a fan’s attempt to disrupt his concentration with a laser pointer.
“Those things can damage your eyes something bad,” James said. “I was standing at the foul line in the fourth quarter when the ref noticed a red dot near my forehead. That’s pretty serious.”
Donyell Marshall also complained to the officiating crew about the laser light as he stood at the foul line with 9:49 remaining.
“They were more when we were shooting our free throws,” Marshall said. “I couldn’t really tell when I was shooting my jump shots.”