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James gets back-to-back triple-doubles as Cavs edge Pacers

Feb 21, 2008 - 4:11 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- LeBron James wasn't going to waste another triple-double.

James registered 31 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Cleveland Cavaliers hold on for a 106-97 triumph over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Following his MVP performance in Sunday's All-Star Game in New Orleans, the 6-8 superstar posted his fifth triple-double this season in a 93-85 loss to Houston on Tuesday.

He followed up that performance with his 16th career triple-double in Wednesday's victory.

"LeBron ... what can I say?" Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Back-to-back nights with a triple-double. He's the MVP. I don't care how many games are left or whatever, the guy is just terrific. He does everything out on the floor.

"He doesn't just score, he gets people easy shots. He doesn't just rebound, he does those things and he defends. He guarded (shooting guards, he guarded (small forwards), and he defended Troy Murphy at the four-spot. The guy is the MVP of the league."

Larry Hughes scored 19 points and Drew Gooden added 17 for the Cavs, who lost guard Daniel Gibson in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

Gibson, who captured MVP honors in the Rookie-Sophomore game during All-Star weekend, sustained the injury when Indiana's Travis Diener dove for a loose ball, bending Gibson's ankle back.

With the game tied at 94-94 in the fourth, Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored four of his 14 points during a game-changing 8-0 surge which was capped by Hughes' 3-pointer at the 1:39 mark.

"We just know how to win," James said. "We don't take for granted being up and we don't take for granted being down, we just execute in the fourth quarter. I'm going to get us in the best position to make plays in the fourth quarter, whether I'm handling the ball or playing off the ball.

"I attract so much attention, a lot of guys get open looks. The biggest look of the night was Larry hitting the dagger in the corner."

Cleveland held a 27-16 edge in the final period.

"We moved the ball well off of multiple screens," Ilgauskas said. "We made it tough on them on the defensive end. LeBron has created so much attention that there are wide-open shots to go around."

Danny Granger poured in 30 points and Murphy chipped in 20 as the Pacers dropped their third straight game.

"It wasn't LeBron making shots at the end," Granger said. "Ilgauskas hit a couple, Hughes hit a big shot, so it was his teammates. We just tanked again." "Tough loss," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We played well enough to win, we just didn't get it done. Danny Granger is becoming a very, very good clutch player, but it wasn't enough."

The Cavaliers opened a 34-26 lead after one quarter, getting seven consecutive points from the 24-year-old James over the final two minutes. Cleveland led 60-54 at the break.

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