for this game

James, supporting cast help Cavs top Celtics

Feb 6, 2008 - 4:00 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The supporting cast answered the bell for LeBron James.

James collected 33 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away late en route to a 114-113 victory over the the Boston Celtics - the NBA's top team - on Tuesday.

"It definitely means something (to beat Boston)," James said. "They're No. 1 in every (defensive) category and we did a good job offensively executing. It was two good teams, and we slugged it out to the (end)."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Larry Hughes had 18 and six assists, and Ira Newble scored 15, including a crucial two-handed jam with 1:30 to play, for the Cavaliers, who have won 13 of their last 16 games.

While James narrowly missed a triple-double, he had plenty of help in holding off the Celtics for the second time this season at home.

"We've got to find ways to win games because we dug ourselves a hole early in the year," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Neither team could really stop the other team defensively, and it turned into a shootout."

With Cleveland leading 112-110, Daniel Gibson stripped Boston's Rajon Rondo with 40 seconds to play and then came up with a loose ball after James' missed shot to effectively seal the win after Ilgauskas' ensuing two free throws.

"I saw (Rondo) coming and I just wanted to try to make a play," Gibson said. "I hope he wasn't asking for a foul because I got a lot of ball."

Cleveland led by eight points, but Boston came storming back to pull within 110-108 at 1:48 on a pair of free throws by Rondo.

"You shoot 57 percent from the field and score 113 and lose," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "That's a hard one to swallow. So many things defensively (broke down). Our offense was bailing us out enough to stay in the game."

James' fourth 3-pointer had given Cleveland a 100-96 lead with 7:56 to play. The Cavaliers also used a 5-0 spurt at the end of the third quarter to take a 92-87 lead into the fourth thanks to Hughes, who had an 11-point quarter.

Rookie Glen "Big Baby" Davis provided a spark for Boston in the third, scoring seven points in less than three minutes to give the Celtics a 79-78 lead with a putback at 5:22.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Cleveland's Drew Gooden had a spectacular putback dunk but suffered a right groin injury and did not return.

Both teams shot the ball extremely well in the first half, and both were guilty of poor defense.

"We've been tremendous on the defensive end and tonight, for our standards, they scored too many points," Celtics guard Ray Allen said. "They pretty much had their way with us. A lot of times we were out of position, and it was all of us."

The Celtics led 66-64 at the break after shooting 61.5 percent from the floor. Allen had 20 points in the first two quarters and Rondo added 16. Rondo's penetration gave Cleveland fits, especially in the second quarter when he netted 12.

The Cavaliers gave up a season-high 66 points in the first half but shot 56.5 percent as James collected 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds in just 20 minutes.

Newble took an accidental elbow from Ilgauskas under his right eye and needed four stitches to close the wound.

Allen finished with 24 points and five assists, Rondo scored 20 and Pierce, fighting off a sickness, had 19 for Boston, which played without All-Star forward Kevin Garnett.

"Cleveland and Detroit, those are the teams we're trying to catch," Rivers said. "They're not trying to catch us."

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