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Jones, Gooden lead Cavs past slumping Grizzlies

Nov 22, 2006 - 2:52 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- With superstar LeBron James having an off night, Drew Gooden and Damon Jones filled in nicely for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Gooden had season highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds and Jones scored 21 points as the Cavaliers survived a late charge for a 97-94 triumph over the struggling Memphis Grizzlies.

James, fourth in the NBA in scoring, finished with just 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting. He handed out nine assists.

Jones' third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter gave Cleveland a 91-84 advantage with 2:13 remaining.

"Damon has been terrific all year. He is shooting the ball very well," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "He's been running the team, especially that second unit when he's out there. He's been really focused and mentally into the game and what he's supposed to be doing, especially defensively."

"He got some great looks. I was able to penetrate and suck in the defense and saw that he was wide open and was able to knock them down," James said. "He works very hard in practice on that shot. He's hitting it this year, so it's exciting to see that."

Brian Cardinal picked off a bad pass by James to set up Mike Miller, who scored on a driving layup to cut the deficit to 93-92 with 18 seconds to go.

After Cleveland's Donyell Marshall made a pair of free throws, Cardinal had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Jones got a piece of his 3-pointer as time expired.

"We had no timeouts left. We had to come on the fly and we got a look at the basket with a guy (Cardinal) who was 4-of-6 (on 3-pointers)," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratallo said. "So we got the ball to the right guy. He got a look and the ball was short, but it was right on line."

Memphis used a 12-0 surge to begin the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 21 points at one stage.

"We've seen ourselves fall behind too many times," Fratello said. "We're digging ourselves out of holes. It's hard to win that way."

A former Grizzlie, Gooden had scored just 25 points combined in his previous five games. But he was stellar in the first quarter, scoring 10 points in a 17-4 surge to help the Cavaliers open a 25-13 lead at the end of the period.

Zydrunas Ilgausakas had 12 points and eight rebounds for Cleveland, which shot 50 percent (37-of-74), including 9-of-21 from the arc. Jones made 5-of-8 3-pointers.

Chucky Atkins scored 17 points and Miller added 15 and seven assists for the Grizzlies, who shot 45 percent (34-of-75) and scored 19 second-chance points.

Cavaliers swingman Larry Hughes missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.

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