for this game

James-Williams duo erupts as Cavaliers soar past Bobcats

Oct 31, 2008 - 2:55 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers' new 1-2 punch made Larry Brown's first game as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats one to forget.

After watching his Bobcats trim a 19-point deficit to five late in the third quarter, Brown had to endure a dominant final stanza by the Cavaliers as they pulled away for a comfortable 96-79 win on Thursday.

LeBron James collected 22 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and offseason pickup Mo Williams added 17 and seven assists to lead the charge for the Cavaliers, who rebounded from a season-opening loss to the reigning champion Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

"Mo is a player who can create for himself and create for others," James said of Williams. "He did a great job of picking it up late in the third and into the fourth quarter. He's a special player."

After a strong third quarter pulled the Bobcats within striking distance, Cleveland put them away in the final period. Williams knocked down a 3-pointer just 35 seconds into the period, sparking a 16-4 run that put the game out of reach.

Naturally, James was the finisher. Midway through the quarter, James grabbed a rebound after Raymond Felton's miss and went coast-to-coast, delivering an emphatic one-handed dunk and drawing a foul, completing the three-point play. Two possessions later, the four-time All-Star dropped in a finger roll in the paint to make it an 86-65 game.

"I think once we got back in the game, old habits came back into play and they kind of took control of the game," Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said.

Daniel Gibson was huge off the bench for Cleveland, scoring a team-high 25 points. Matched up for much of the night against Charlotte rookie and fellow Texas alumnus D.J. Augustin, Gibson had a 13-point second quarter and hit 10-of-14 from the field overall, including 4-of-6 from the arc.

"We feel like with Mo and Delonte (West) and Wally (Szczerbiak) and all of these guys, we feel like when LeBron is getting his rest we're still a competitive team, a great team," Gibson said. "It was (Augustin's) first game, and I caught him a couple of times chasing me, so I made sure a couple of those shots went in."

The ninth overall pick of this year's draft, Augustin had a lackluster NBA debut. The 6-foot point guard went 3-for-8 for 12 points, dishing out just two points and committing four turnovers.

After a miserable first half in which they shot just 30 percent (12-for-40), the Bobcats used a 16-2 run to climb within 60-55 on Emeka Okafor's lay up with 3:39 remaining in the third. Jason Richardson fueled the comeback with a 15-point third quarter and finished with a team-high 24.

"Sometimes when we miss shots in the third quarter, we let our defense deteriorate," James said.

Brown picked up his first technical foul as Charlotte's coach late in the third quarter when he mistakenly thought a foul call had gone against his Bobcats. But Gibson - who went just 1-for-5 at the foul line on the night - missed the ensuing free throw.

The Cavaliers quelled the Bobcats' comeback with an 8-4 push to end the third period, extending their lead to 68-59.

Brown, who was hired in April to replace the fired Sam Vincent, led Charlotte through a winless preseason schedule. The regular season didn't start any better. The Bobcats shot just 34 percent (25-of-74) from the field. Point guard Raymond Felton and power forward Sean May were particularly rusty, combining to hit just 1-of-16.

"A lot of our shots were tough shots," Brown said. "We were settling for long jumpers. But we have to figure out how to get better and keep trying to improve."

Gerald Wallace had 13 and five boards for the Bobcats, while Okafor collected seven and 12 boards.

Ben Wallace provided a defensive presence for the Cavaliers, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking five shots.

"Ben really had an impact on the game in the 24 minutes he played," Cleveland head coach Mike Brown said.

Zydrunas Ilgauskus scored 11 and added two steals and a pair of blocks for Cleveland.

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