for this game

LeBron, Cavs continue home dominance

Jan 8, 2009 - 4:13 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready for the Boston Celtics on Friday.

In what amounted to a tune-up, the Cavaliers buried the Charlotte Bobcats, 111-81, on Wednesday night and improved to 18-0 at home.

"We never look past the next opponent no matter who we're going against," James said. "Our intensity (at home) has been really hot."

Widely considered two of the top contenders to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals next June, the Cavs and Celtics will face off for the second time this season on Friday.

"For me to say it's just another game, I'd be lying to you," James said.

The Bobcats were coming off a 114-106 overtime win over the Celtics on Monday in Charlotte but were never in contention in this one.

The tone was set early, as the Cavaliers were never threatened as they improved to 18-0 at home. The final seconds of the first quarter not only closed out a dominant opening 12 minutes but epitomized the way things went for the duration of the game.

With James playing for the last shot, he lost his balance around the perimeter and had to chuck up an off-balance jumper with four hands in face. But the shot went right through, extending Cleveland's advantage to 29-12. It was easy work from there.

"The exciting part about it was we got into the lane," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. The Cavaliers scored 54 points in the paint.

James scored 15 of his 21 points in the first quarter and the Cavaliers built a 43-14 lead early in the second. He also had four rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes and did not play in the fourth quarter.

Six Cavs scored in double figures, with Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak each dropping in 15 points.

"We have been feeling (there is a target on our back) for the last 10 or 12 games," Williams said.

The Cavaliers seemed to have an extra gear after losing on Sunday at Washington 80-77, shooting 60 percent (45-of-75) from the floor while holding the Bobcats to just 39 percent (29-of-74) shooting.

"We're No. 1 (in the Eastern Conference) and that's where we want to stay," Williams said.

A bizarre ending to the first half had Charlotte's Juwan Howard, who was on the bench at the time, ejected with 16.4 seconds left. Then, with 4.2 seconds to go, the Cavaliers were tagged with back-to-back delay-of-game technical fouls.

Charlotte trailed, 60-42, at the half and whittled its deficit to 62-46 before the Cavaliers exploded on a 14-2 run to regain full control, taking a 76-48 advantage with 4:57 left in the third quarter.

Raymond Felton's fast-break layup at 3:35 ended a nearly five-minute drought for the Bobcats.

The Cavaliers swept the season series from Charlotte, 3-0, winning by an average margin of 22.3 points.

"The first play of the game, the game was over in my mind," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "LeBron just dribbled in and layed it up like nobody was guarding him."

The Bobcats were led by 15 points from Felton and 14 points from Gerald Wallace.

"We just didn't come out and compete tonight," Wallace said. "They came out and jumped on us from the start, as they've done the previous two games."

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