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Hughes, James help Cavaliers edge Spurs

Jan 3, 2007 - 5:12 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Larry Hughes and the Cleveland Cavaliers got their act together just in time.

Hughes scored 13 of his 18 points in the decisive fourth quarter and LeBron James finished with 19 as the Cavaliers rallied for an 82-78 triumph over the San Antonio Spurs.

Cleveland has won three straight meetings against San Antonio after losing the previous four. It was the first time the Cavaliers swept the season series since the 1988-89 campaign.

"I feel really good for our guys that they won this game and the last two games (against San Antonio) the right way," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "I truly believe we played the right way against a team like this."

In the fourth quarter, Hughes drained a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play as Cleveland took the lead for good, 60-57, with 7:35 remaining.

"I like to get everyone involved," Hughes said. "But at times I need to be a little bit more aggressive and attack and take the shot."

"He (Hughes) had his legs," said James, who had five rebounds and five assists. "The two days we had off, he had his legs. He caught fire. He was looking real good. It was a great to see that."

Tony Parker scored six consecutive points for the Spurs, closing the gap to 70-67 with 1:54 left. However, Damon Jones scored five of the Cavaliers' next six points, including a shot from the arc one minute later for a 76-67 advantage.

Cleveland outscored San Antonio, 38-28, in the final period.

"Down the stretch, I think we matched their intensity and their headiness to make the right play," Hughes said.

"It's tough to lose a game when you're winning and playing defense for three quarters and then everything just kind of goes to heck in the fourth quarter," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Jones scored 11 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in eight and 13 rebounds for Cleveland, who shot 36 percent (27-of-75) from the floor and improved to 14-3 at home.

Cleveland forward Donyell Marshall left late in the contest with a head contusion. He is listed as day-to-day.

"I guess we'll see (Wednesday)," Marshall said. "Right now, my neck is sore. It'll depend on how it feels when I wake up."

Parker scored 28 points and superstar Tim Duncan collected 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, who were held to a season-low 10 points in the third quarter.

"It was a great defensive game for three quarters and then in the fourth quarter, we just couldn't stop Hughes," Parker said.

Tied at 21-21 after one quarter, San Antonio used an impressive 13-4 burst to open the second. Robert Horry netted all five of his points in the run.

Popovich was ejected midway through the fourth quarter for arguing the lack of a foul calls on Duncan.

"It doesn't matter what I thought. It doesn't matter what I felt," Popovich said. "I didn't want there to be any sort of equivocation on the officials' part as to whether he should toss me."

"I saw Timmy (Duncan) going to the basket, get fouled, I didn't see what happened," Parker said. "I'm sure it was something else before. I don't think Pop would get mad like that, I think it was something before and maybe it escalated after that play."

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