for this game

Ilgauskas perfect as Cavaliers crush Wizards

Jan 24, 2008 - 5:01 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Having won three straight road games, the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers returned home on Wednesday and crushed the Washington Wizards, 121-85, for their fifth straight win and ninth in 10 games.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas struck for 15 first-quarter points and finished with 24 on 10-of-10 shooting and Drew Gooden added 18 and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland used a Quicken Loans Arena-record 43-point third quarter and led 95-63 heading into the final period.

"(Ilgauskas) set the tone for us offensively," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We did a nice job of coming out and playing the right way in the third (quarter). Our guys just played basketball."

LeBron James scored 13 of his 23 points in the first quarter and added eight rebounds and eight assists. "The King" was able to sit out the fourth quarter as Cleveland cruised to victory.

"We haven't played good basketball in the third quarter all year," James said. "It was a conscious effort to play better (after halftime). Offensively, we were unbelievable tonight."

The Cavaliers equaled a season-high with 30 assists after three quarters and registered 39 for the game, also an Arena record. No NBA team since 1977-78 has had as many assists with six or fewer turnovers.

"It's another step in our journey to get back to where we were last year," Cavaliers guard Damon Jones said.

The 36-point win is Cleveland's largest margin of victory since defeating the Los angeles Lakers, 117-79, at home on November 30, 1994.

The scoreboard at Quicken Loans Arena became frozen midway through the second quarter, and it was an omen for the Wizards.

Washington came in having won seven of its last nine games, but it struggled through a dismal third quarter, shooting 14 percent (3-of-21) from the field.

"From one to 11 and the coaching staff, we just didn't bring it tonight," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We played them without LeBron (a 105-86 Washington win on December 5) last time. I certainly remember LeBron saying very shortly after that game that he was going to remember all the butt kicking they got while he was out."

Leading 52-46 at the half, Cleveland ran off an 11-1 spurt to start the third quarter and coasted to the win. The Wizards did not score a second-half basket until there was 6:38 left in the period and were outscored by 26 points in the quarter.

"We missed layups, we missed open shots and it seemed like everything they threw up went in," Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said.

Brendan Haywood had 11 points and five rebounds and Caron Butler and Jamison each scored 10 for Washington.

"We ought to be completely embarrassed," Wizards guard Antonio Daniels said.

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