for this game

James, Cavaliers rout Nets

Apr 10, 2008 - 3:56 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- With superstar LeBron James hurting, the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to beat the New Jersey Nets, 104-83, on Wednesday night.

Trailing, 67-53, with 6:45 left in the third quarter, the Cavaliers outscored the Nets, 51-16, the rest of the way and avoided the season sweep.

James, fighting through painful back spasms, began the fourth quarter flat on his back near the bench and did not re-enter the game until the 6:24 mark.

"It was the first glimpse that I've seen our whole lineup and the whole unit really click at the same time," James said. "We locked down (defensively) in the second (part) of the third quarter and the whole fourth."

In the meantime, New Jersey took its last lead at 77-76 on a 3-pointer by Bostjan Nachbar at 11:25 of the fourth quarter.

The Nets then missed 19 field-goal attempts to end the game, including several close-in attempts. New Jersey endured a nine-point fourth quarter and lost its 12th road game in its last 13.

"It was one heck of a swing," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "Then to go totally dry in the fourth quarter because we came out with great intent."

James finished with 33 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds on a night he "didn't feel 100 percent" and played just 35 minutes.

"I felt good enough where I could be effective," James said.

"The King" credited a few days off from practice and the training staff for getting him ready to play.

"We need to monitor (LeBron's) minutes and try to get him as much rest as we can throughout the course of the game," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "For him to play 35 minutes is great."

Wally Szczerbiak scored 14 points and Daniel Gibson added 12 for Cleveland (43-35), which holds a two-game lead over Washington (41-37) for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards defeated Boston Wednesday night.

"This was a big win," Szczerbiak said. "If we push the ball, especially at home, we can get teams on their heels."

Gibson added five assists, five rebounds, and three steals, and had his best game in the last six since returning from a high ankle sprain, which sidelined him for 18 games. He came in shooting a combined 5-of-24 in five previous outings.

"A game like tonight will give me the confidence to know that I can push the ball, know I can get to the paint and know I am capable of still doing some of those things I did before I was injured," Gibson said.

New Jersey had scored the first seven points of the second half to go on top 60-49.

Cleveland led by as many as seven in the first half, but trailed by four at halftime. Vince Carter hit the Cavaliers with a 10-point second quarter for the Nets, who shot 52 percent from the floor over the first two quarters.

Carter paced New Jersey with 19 points and Richard Jefferson scored seven of his 15 points in the first quarter.

"It's tough when you're not hitting shots, not making layups, and calls we felt we should have gotten, we weren't getting," Carter said.

The Nets shot 25-of-75 from the floor.

"It wasn't just our bench, we just had a hard time making shots," Frank said. "And you look at points in the paint, and there's a huge disparity (36-14)."

  • NBA

    Apr 9 9:33 PM

  • NBA

    Apr 9 8:57 PM

  • NBA

    Apr 9 8:11 PM

  • NBA

    Apr 9 7:34 PM