for this game

Williams, James keep Cavs perfect at home

Jan 28, 2009 - 5:19 AM By Rick Noland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Mo Williams made his final argument for a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team a convincing one.

Williams scored a career-high 43 points and LeBron James added a triple-double as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Sacramento Kings, 117-110, on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

Williams, who will learn whether Eastern Conference coaches have selected him as an All-Star reserve prior to Thursday's game in Orlando, was 15-of-24 from the field and added eight rebounds and 11 assists.

He got plenty of help from James, who completed his 20th career triple-double before the third quarter ended and finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.

"You make the first few, then three turns into four and four turns into five," Williams said. "You miss one, then you make a few more and you start feeling pretty confident about your shot.

"It's extremely fun. You feel like you're shooting into the ocean."

The Cavaliers, who are now 21-0 at home and an Eastern Conference-best 35-8 overall, led by just six after three periods, but blew the game open with a 15-4 run to start the final quarter.

The Kings made the final score respectable, but the outcome was never in doubt from that point.

"We responded (defensively) for about five minutes of the fourth quarter," said Cleveland coach Mike Brown, who was not happy with his team's effort. "That's how we got separation - we got stops.

"Just the way we went about playing at that end of the floor was not Cavs basketball. I'm a little concerned about that."

Kevin Martin scored 35 points for Sacramento, which lost its sixth straight and fell to a Western Conference-worst 10-36. John Salmons added 21 points and Jason Thompson finished with 16 for the Kings.

"Of course you're going to be disappointed you didn't pull it out, but we did compete tonight," said Martin, who was 15-of-17 at the line. "We finally played as a team.

"Cleveland's record at home is the best in the league. They haven't lost, and teams come in here a little intimidated. We didn't do that tonight. We at least gave a little effort."

Williams established a career high in scoring by hitting a pair of free throws with 2:46 to go in the third period, giving him 39 points and putting the Cavaliers up 84-80. Earlier in the period, the Cleveland point guard scored nine straight points, all coming on 3-pointers.

Despite Williams' heroics - and the fact James already had a triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists - the Cavaliers led the Kings just 88-82 heading into the fourth.

"We had a lack of focus, period, throughout the game," James said. "We know we didn't play our best game defensively. They made some shots, but we broke down a few times."

Sacramento was able to stay close thanks to Martin, who had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists through three quarters.

Williams had a Cavaliers season-high 25 points in the first half, including 17 in a sizzling second quarter, as Cleveland took a 60-56 lead at intermission.

"They just kept letting him shoot the ball," James said. "It was funny to me. He just kept firing and I kept finding him."

The Kings, who are now 3-21 on the road and 0-19 against the Eastern Conference, made 15-of-23 shots over one stretch to take a 44-33 lead with 7:22 to play in the second period.

At that point, Sacramento had outscored Cleveland 18-3 from beyond the arc, but Williams hit back-to-back 3-pointers in an 18-5 run that put the Cavaliers up 51-49.

Williams and James combined for 42 points in the first half, with Williams going 9-of-12 from the field. James already had 10 rebounds and five assists at intermission, as well as two blocks, while Martin kept Sacramento in the game with 20 points, four boards and five assists.

Cleveland outrebounded Sacramento by a whopping 28-11 in the first half - and 49-25 for the game - but the Kings stayed in the game by making eight 3-pointers and shooting 51 percent (19-of-37) from the field.

In the end, Williams was too much for Sacramento. The performance of the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder probably would have earned him a few more All-Star votes, but East coaches had to turn in their ballots by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

"There's a lot of guys who deserve All-Star spots," Williams said. "It's left up to the coaches. Thursday is the day. It will be a great feeling, don't let me fool you. But if I don't make it, I won't lose any sleep over it."