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Jones, James help Cavs hold off late surge by Knicks

Nov 14, 2006 - 3:34 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Damon Jones and LeBron James kept the New York Knicks struggling at home.

Jones had season highs of 29 points and seven 3-pointers and James also had 29 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers survived a late charge for a 102-96 triumph over the Knicks.

The 6-3 Jones, who entered Monday with a season-best seven points, finished just two shy of his career best. He made 9-of-12 shots, including 7-of-10 from the arc.

"I'm always confident in my shot. But tonight I felt really, really good," Jones said. "I was just looking for opportunities to get my hand on it and get it up. We moved the ball well and because of it we were able to get a victory."

"Damon was phenomenal when we were struggling to put the ball in the hole," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "He was phenomenal shooting the basketball. He kept us in it and gave us a chance to win the ballgame."

Reserve Jamal Crawford nailed a deep 3-pointer from near mid-court as the shot-clock expired and scored on a fast break two-handed jam over Larry Hughes with 1:43 remaining to cut the Knicks' deficit to 95-94.

However, Hughes responded with a jumper and, after Stephon Marbury misfired on a shot from the arc, James made two free throws with 34 seconds left to seal things.

"Larry hit some big shots for us down the stretch and his defensive play on Nate Robinson was huge because Nate had it going," Brown said.

"It shows the poise we have now (finishing games)," James said. "I think a few years ago, maybe my second year, maybe my first year those games would slip away from us because we weren't mature. We didn't understand how to win those kind of ballgames."

Hughes collected 14 points and three steals for the Cavs, who shot 45 percent (36-of-79) from the field and scored 23 fast-break points.

Robinson scored a season-high 19 points and Channing Frye chipped in 17 for the Knicks, who shot 48 percent (39-of-80) and fell to 0-3 at Madison Square Garden this season.

"We can't fall too far behind," Robinson said. "We got to win at home."

The Knicks used an impressive 15-3 surge, cutting a double-digit deficit to 84-83 with just over six minutes remaining. Crawford scored seven of his 18 points in the run.

"Those are the kind of things that are frustrating because you work so hard to get back," said Crawford, who made 8-of-16 shots. "We shouldn't even be in that situation. We had control of the game early. We let them back in it. We have to learn how to close teams out."

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