for this game

Cavs outlast shorthanded Kings

Jan 5, 2008 - 4:43 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Daniel Gibson drained a huge 3-pointer and LeBron James accepted the role of distributor in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory.

The Cavaliers rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and defeated the Sacramento Kings, 97-93, for their fourth win in the last five games.

With Cleveland nursing a one-point lead, Gibson knocked down his key triple with 11 seconds left to make it 97-93. Anderson Varejao set up Gibson's shot by coming up with an offensive rebound off of a missed three by James.

"I knew they were going to close down hard," Gibson said. "So, I wanted to step to the side and get an easier look."

James doled out five of 10 assists in the final quarter and finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and five steals. James was able to shake off a nagging toe injury and lead the Cavs to another win after missing practice with the injured big toe on Thursday.

"I just take what's there," James said. "Last game, I had 19 (points) in the fourth quarter and I was able to get in a comfort zone. Tonight I was double and triple-teamed and found guys that were wide open and they knocked down shot for me."

Trailing 75-67, Cleveland hit the Kings with an 18-2 run capped by a three-point play by Varejao with 7:05 to play. But the Kings refused to fold and they answered with a 12-4 spurt to close within 90-89 on a 3-pointer by John Salmons with 3:31 remaining.

Sacramento has been hammered by injuries of late and faced Cleveland without the services of point guard Mike Bibby, top scorer Kevin Martin, and defensive stalwart Ron Artest.

"We've got all the built-in excuses that we need, which is not acceptable," Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. "But I still thought that we gave them a gift. I thought we outplayed them and down the stretch they made the shots that they needed to make to win the basketball game."

But the Kings ran out of gas and turned it over six times and gave up four offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.

"Unfortunately, when our guys get tired, I have nobody to put in," Theus said.

Despite missing three key players, the Kings led by as many as 12 points in the first half and a three-point play by Brad Miller gave the Kings a 57-51 lead with 9:06 left in the third quarter.

Five straight points by Sasha Pavlovic put Cleveland in front 60-59 at 5:34. After a James free throw gave the Cavaliers a 61-59 margin, Sacramento ran off a 14-4 spurt for a 73-65 lead with 25 seconds to play in the third quarter.

Cleveland's bench outscored Sacramento's 37-17. The Cavalier trio of Devin Brown, Gibson, and Varejao had a major impact.

"Our bench was big tonight," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "I thought we did a decent job in the hustle game after the first quarter."

"I'm a guy that likes to hustle, and they were outworking us," said Cavalier reserve Devin Brown, who had 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds in the first meeting between these teams on Nov. 9. "Whenever I see that (Sacramento) purple, it brings out something in me."

Brown had 13 points, three assists, and two steals in nearly 24 minutes. varejao had 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals and Gibson finished with 13 points and five assists.

Salmons scored 22 points for the Kings, who committed 22 turnovers and yielded 19 offensive rebounds.

"They played good at the end and they got the win," Kings forward Francisco Garcia said.

Theus was not as complimentary.

"The bottom line is, we still had the game within our reach," he said. "You get 22 turnovers against a team that doesn't pressure. It's night in and night out and it's ridiculous. You're giving them the game. Twenty-two turnovers against a team that doesn't pressure, it's giving them the game."

The Cavaliers shot 35 percent through three quarters, but hit 48 percent (11-of-23) from the floor in the decisive fourth quarter.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland.

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