for this game

Cavs lock down on defense, trounce Pacers

Dec 6, 2008 - 4:38 AM By Matt Loede PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Who needs LeBron James?

James was held to a season-low 11 points but chipped in 11 assists and eight rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Indiana Pacers on both ends of the floor en route to a 97-73 victory on Friday.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao added 17 points apiece for the Cavaliers, who picked up their seventh consecutive win and moved to 11-0 at Quicken Loans Arena.

Cleveland did not allow more than 20 points in any quarter and held the Pacers, who rank fourth in the Eastern Conference in scoring, to 40 percent shooting (29-of-72), including 4-of-12 from beyond the arc.

"It was all about defense and we have enough guys that can score," James said. "We have to continue to defend."

Varejao celebrated his "wig night" by coming up one point shy of his career high and adding a big second quarter in which he scored 13 points to help the Cavaliers to a 52-38 edge at the break.

"I thought Andy did a heck of a job for us playing right away," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "This is the second time that we've played this team where he has helped us to go on a run and create separation."

Indiana kept it competitive for a quarter and a half, trailing just 21-20 at the end of one and leading 29-28 at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter.

It would be the Pacers' only lead. From there, Cleveland blew it open with a 24-9 run to end the second. Daniel Gibson scored 10 at the half for the Cavs and Williams added eight.

"We are playing extremely well," Williams said. "As a team, we've got to take that challenge and keep ourselves motivated. It is a motivation within itself to win a championship, and that's our main goal.

"We make great adjustments. We don't change much, we just execute a little bit better."

The Cavaliers increased their lead in the third before things got a little chippy in the fourth.

With 4:26 left in the game and Cleveland leading, 88-65, Danny Granger gave a hard foul on James going for a dunk. Ilgauskas came to his aid, and James and Ilgauskas were hit with technical fouls.

"He shoved me, and I shoved him back," Granger said. "That's about it, I've got to hold my tongue."

Cleveland cruised the rest of the way, clearing the bench.

It was the first time that Indiana failed to reach at least 91 points.

"They are a great basketball team and they are playing on all cylinders right now," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We didn't have what it took."

Granger, who was matched up against James most of the night, managed a season-low four points on 2-of-7 shooting. Murphy led the way for the Pacers with 15 points.

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