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James leads Cavaliers to fourth straight win

Nov 16, 2006 - 2:45 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were not about to overlook the Portland Trail Blazers.

James scored 32 points to help the Cavaliers overcome another big game from Zach Randolph en route to a 100-87 victory over the Trail Blazers.

Drew Gooden added 17 points and Eric Snow contributed 13 for the Cavaliers, who extended their winning streak to a season-high four games.

The Blazers marked the third team this season the Cavaliers faced at home that reached the lottery in 2005-06. In the previous two contests, Cleveland lost in overtime to Atlanta and had to rally from a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Boston on Saturday.

"Every night the emphasis is to try jump out and play the right way," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We've been watching our recent games, and even in New York, we feel like we got some pretty good shots, but the ball just hasn't gone in the hole. Tonight, the ball went in the hole early and we were able to be in the game scoring-wise early."

James made sure there would be far less drama against the Blazers, who were playing the second end of back-to-back games for the first time this season.

"I'm looking at our guys and I'm looking at their backs," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "And I'm looking at the backs of these guys (Cavaliers), and we look like young men. Just the size. You look at LeBron and you look at (Zydrunas) Ilgauskas, next to LaMarcus (Aldridge), and LeBron next to Martell (Webster) and (Anderson) Varejao next to Travis (Outlaw), and we're a young group. And I thought it showed."

In the third quarter, James scored 14 points as the Cavaliers extended a 51-43 halftime advantage to 79-61 entering the final period. They led by double digits the entire fourth quarter.

James, who made 10-of-15 shots, also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out seven assists.

Randolph attempted to keep the Blazers in it, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds in his third straight and sixth double-double in nine games this season.

"They had more power than us," Randolph said. "They came from different angles, LeBron, Z (Ilgauskas), they came from different angles."

Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes left the game midway through the second quarter with a right leg contusion. He was injured while going for a lose ball with Webster.

"I think the good part is that it's not my ankle," Hughes said. "It's basically my lower leg. I took X-rays and everything looked good as far as anything serious, so we'll have to re-evaluate tomorrow, see how it feels."

"The last thing I want to see is Larry being on the ground because of injury," James said. "We found out, hopefully, it's not that bad. It wasn't his ankle, so I was glad he was able to get his ankle out of there."

The Cavaliers hardly missed Hughes as James more than picked up the slack.

James scored eight points in 10-0 run, capping it with a 3-pointer with 4:15 left in the third quarter, which gave the Cavs a 70-53 bulge.

"He was attacking. That kind of aggressiveness is what we need from him and from everyone else," Brown said. "He got in a rhythm from the 3-point line and I thought he mixed it up very well."

Portland struggled in the third quarter, making just 4-of-13 shots and committing seven of its 19 turnovers.

Outlaw added 16 points, Juan Dixon 14 and Aldridge 13 on 5-of-5 shooting for the Blazers.

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