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Ilgauskas leads Cavaliers to win over 76ers

Nov 26, 2006 - 3:15 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- At 7-3, it's hard not to notice Zydrunas Ilgauskas. But he called attention to himself anyway.

Ilgauskas had season highs of 18 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks and the Cleveland Cavaliers got a big effort from their bench as they rallied for a 108-95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

LeBron James overcame a slow start to collect 25 points and 11 assists for Cleveland, which erased an early 13-point deficit and snapped a two-game losing streak.

A two-time All-Star, Ilgauskas has been quiet this season with just one double-double. He scored just two points in Friday's loss at Indiana and often has been on the bench as the Cavaliers and their opponents go to smaller, quicker lineups.

"We talked about it and he felt like he was out of the flow (of the offense)," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "It was my job to try to do a better job of getting him the basketball."

"He's that presence in the post," guard Damon Jones said. "We have to establish that if we want to be a championship basketball team like we say we do. We haven't done a good job of involving him in many games."

The Lithuanian was a huge factor Saturday as he thoroughly outplayed Samuel Dalembert and helped Cleveland enjoy a 49-36 advantage on the backboards. Ilgauskas had a dozen rebounds on the offensive end.

"I talked to coach before the game and he said with Larry (guard Larry Hughes) being out, we need a second scorer to help LeBron and they were going to go to me more times and try to force-feed me and get me going," Ilgauskas said. "I had a little bit of a slow start, missed some easy shots, but coach kept calling my plays and the guys kept looking for me."

In the pivotal second quarter, Ilgauskas scored the first six points in a 12-0 run that gave Cleveland a 46-36 lead. He repeatedly kept alive possessions with tips and rebounds that frustrated Philadelphia.

"It got to a point where we said, 'Screw the offense,' and we went with something where we could get (Ilgauskas) the ball," James said. "There was some calls we made that had nothing to do with our offense, but we have to find a way to get (Ilgauskas) in his comfort zone."

"His 15 rebounds, his 18 points were tremendous, but what I like to see more than that is the five blocks he had," Brown said. "I thought defensively his length helped out in that paint.

The Cavaliers also got a spark from their bench, which scored 38 points. Jones continued his strong play with 12 points, Anderson Varejao added 11 and Sasha Pavlovic eight - all in the first half, when Cleveland was struggling to find offense.

"The bench was very good for us today," Varejao said. "We showed good things on defense and good things on offense. It helped us get back in the game."

"We came out lackadaisical," James said. "The second team came in and gave us a big lift and we picked it up from there. They've done a great job."

James scored just six points on 2-of-9 shooting in the first half. However, he had 12 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer after the 76ers had closed to 75-68 with 1:34 to go.

Philadelphia got within 94-86 on two free throws by Dalembert with 5:24 to play before Cleveland put together a 7-0 spurt capped by a three-point play by James to seal it.

"He plays at that pace where he looks like he's coasting, then all of a sudden he kind of takes off," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said.

Drew Gooden scored 13 points and former Sixer Eric Snow added 11 for the Cavs, who shot 48 percent (43-of-89) and overcame 20 turnovers, including seven by James.

Allen Iverson scored 31 points on just 10-of-28 shooting and Andre Iguodala added 17 for the Sixers, who shot 40 percent (30-of-77) as they lost for the fifth time in six games.

For the fifth straight game, Philadelphia was without injured big men Chris Webber and Steven Hunter. Shavlik Randolph scored a career-high 12 points but Dalembert managed just six and eight boards.

The first quarter was controlled by Philadelphia. Randolph matched his career high with 10 points, helping the Sixers open a 25-12 lead before the Cavaliers scored the final four points of the period.

The second quarter was a complete reversal. With Ilgauskas dominating underneath and Jones and Pavlovic providing the offense, the Cavaliers rallied to take a 32-28 lead on three-point plays by Pavlovic and Varejao.

"Turnovers and some quick shots killed us," Cheeks said. "Damon Jones made some shots in the second quarter that kind of turned the tide."

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