for this game

James, Gooden carry Cavs to 2-0 lead in series vs. Wizards

Apr 26, 2007 - 5:21 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Drew Gooden knew teammate LeBron James was battling a sore ankle and decided to help with the load.

James scored 27 points and Gooden had 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers took a 2-0 lead with a 109-102 triumph over the Washington Wizards in their Eastern Conference first-round series matchup.

A three-time All-Star, James suffered a slight injury to his ankle when he stepped on the foot of Washington center Etan Thomas in Sunday's series opener.

"It felt pretty good," James said. "I was able to get into the lane and, if not create for myself, I was able to create for my teammates. It felt good."

Despite the injury, James still pulled down eight rebounds and handed out seven assists as the Cavaliers pushed their winning streak to six games dating to the regular season.

Gooden connected on 10-of-13 shots and made 4-of-5 free throws in helping Cleveland dominate the glass, 58-38.

"I will say it was one of my best playoff games," Gooden said. "We have guys who can come in on any given night and contribute. And (Wednesday) was my night. In the first game, it was Larry Hughes' night. And LeBron's going to do what he's going to do, but on any given night someone can step up."

It was Gooden's eighth career double-double in the postseason; he only had one in last season's first-round series win against the Wizards.

With only a three-point lead after the first two quarters, the Cavs extended their lead when Sasha Pavlovic's jumper sparked a 14-8 run to close out the third period for a 75-63 advantage.

The Wizards made a late charge in the fourth quarter as Antawn Jamison netted seven straight points during a 10-4 surge to cut the deficit to 91-85 at the 4:58 mark.

However, James and Gooden combined to score Cleveland's next six points for a 97-89 cushion. But Washington kept things interesting late with Jamison's 3-pointer from the corner to make it 101-97 with 39 seconds left.

Antonio Daniels scored on a driving layup and Jarvis Hayes nailed a shot from the arc as Washington pulled to 105-102 with 18 seconds remaining, but Hughes made four free throws to seal the win.

"Our guys played really well," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "It was a good ending for us. We didn't give up. We put a little bit of pressure on them coming down to the end. They stepped up."

James hopes to eliminate late-game mistakes.

"We got careless," he said. "We had a careless play between me and Eric (Snow) and we take the credit for that. Instead of just getting the ball in, we went for the home run and it was careless. We're a better team than that, but at the end of the day, we're up 2-0 and that's all that matters."

Game Three is Saturday in Washington.

"We just hope there is a comfort level coming home," Jordan said. "That there is a little bit of momentum knowing that we can play with this team and knowing that if we can just knock down some shots, we could get some momentum and maybe that could change the series, but we have to make shots in order to do that."

Washington continues to stumble without All-Stars Gilbert Arenas (knee) and Caron Butler (broken hand). Butler had his cast removed Monday but Jordan ruled out the forward until later in the postseason.

Jamison remains the lone bright spot in this series, finishing with 31 points and 10 boards for his second straight double-double. He had 28 and 14 in Game One.

"We still have a lot of confidence as a team," Jamison said. "We've just had a couple of mistakes here and a couple of missed shots there, and it might be a different story."

Gooden's 13-point outburst in the second quarter helped the Cavaliers to a 51-48 advantage at intermission.

"One thing that helped me during that stretch was my teammates having confidence in me and to keep feeding me the ball," Gooden said.

Hughes had 19 points and eight boards and Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in 16 and nine for Cleveland, which shot 47 percent (40-of-84) and survived 14 turnovers.

Brendan Haywood and Darius Songaila netted 13 points apiece and Daniels finished with 11 and 11 assists for the Wizards, who shot 42 percent (38-of-90).

"We have yet to shoot well as a team," Jamison said. "And hopefully that can be a different story. I am happy with our defensive performance. We're making it tough."


    Apr 25 10:34 PM
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