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James pours in 38 as Cavaliers hold on to beat Pacers

Mar 8, 2008 - 10:38 PM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James stayed red hot on a cold, snowy day in Cleveland.

James scored 38 points Saturday afternoon as the Cleveland Cavaliers held on for a 103-95 triumph over the Indiana Pacers.

It was the seventh victory in the last 10 games for the Cavaliers (36-27), who have climbed to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings thanks to the outstanding play of James.

"It's great for the fans, it's great for the media," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "(James) is a tremendous player, and I'm glad I have a great seat."

The NBA's leading scorer, James has reached the 30-point mark in each of his past five games - a stretch headlined by a 50-point outburst Wednesday against the New York Knicks.

James produced another masterpiece three days later, shooting 11-of-24 from the field and making five 3-pointers on an afternoon when the Cleveland area was rocked by one foot of snow.

But a crowd of 20,562 braved the blizzard to witness the outstanding play of James, who added 11 rebounds and four assists.

"Our fans are our backbone," James said. "We know we're going to need them throughout the regular season and going into the postseason."

James rewarded the fans with his usual array of highlight plays, including a reverse windmill dunk that beat the halftime buzzer.

The 6-8 James carried that momentum into the third quarter, when he scored 18 points over a stretch of 8 1/2 minutes.

"I knew it was going to be tough because we played so well in the first half," he said. "The first five minutes in the third quarter is key, so I wanted to try to make sure we came out aggressive.

"I came out aggressive and started knocking down shots. Once I get into a zone like that, it's tough to try to stop me from what I want to do."

Anderson Varejao finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds and six assists for the Cavaliers, who swept their four-game season series with the Pacers.

It marked the first time since the 1992-93 season that Cleveland won all of its games against Indiana.

Delonte West had 14 points and six assists while Joe Smith chipped in 12 points and eight boards off the bench for the Cavs, who enjoyed a 54-37 edge on the glass.

"They started loading up on LeBron when he got the ball," Smith said. "That opened up the boards. The more you focus on one guy the more opportunities, you get to the rebounds."

Cleveland owned a 51-37 halftime advantage and led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter.

The Pacers trimmed the deficit to 97-93 late in the fourth quarter before James drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 100-93 with 1:20 remaining.

"I'm going to continue to shoot them," James said. "I know I can shoot the ball from the outside. At one time, teams will realize that also."

"If he's open, I want him to take it," Brown added. "The reason is he has to be confident in taking the shot."

Danny Granger scored 19 points to pace Indiana, which has lost nine of its last 12 games.

"Our guys are resilient and they never give up on a game," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "That's certainly a very good attribute to have. But we don't play defensively and on the glass hard enough to beat good basketball teams."

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    INDIANA 95

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    RUWTbot Added 60 roots (Close Finish)

    Pacers 95, Cavaliers 100  4th - 0:58Mar 8 3:20 PM

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    INDIANA 64

    Mar 8 2:55 PM

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    INDIANA 37

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