for this game

James, Cavs rout Raptors

Feb 4, 2009 - 4:22 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to hit new highs.

James scored 33 points as the Cavaliers pulled away from the Toronto Raptors, 101-83, on Tuesday to post their seventh win in eight games.

Daniel Gibson scored 18 points for the Cavaliers, who set a franchise record by improving to 23-0 at home this season.

"We came out with a lot of energy, got a lot of stops and made a lot of shots," said James, who described his team's recipe for yet another home win.

James also became the youngest player to reach 12,000 points when he hit two free throws to make it 87-75 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Gibson then hit a three to give the Cavs an insurmountable 15-point lead, capping a 7-0 run - that was started with two free throws by James.

Turning himself into a defensive stalwart this season, James provided the game's best highlight by swatting a dunk attempt by former Olympic teammate Chris Bosh in the middle of the decisive run.

"I was floored," said Cleveland coach Mike Brown, who wasn't his energetic self - thanks to a nasty cold - until he saw LeBron's eye-popping play. "I didn't think there was any way whatsoever any human being could come from the weak side and contest that shot the way he did. Wow! Wow, wow, wow!"

"It's like a dunk on offense," James said. "It's a momentum-changer. It gets the team hyped and it gets the crowd hyped."

The end result was another dominating performance here for the Cavaliers (38-9), who are pushing the Boston Celtics (41-9) for best record in the Eastern Conference.

James' heroics have transformed Quicken Loans Arena into one of the most electric venues in the NBA.

"The fans in this building are unbelievable," Brown said. "You can't relax in this building because there's so much going on."

Ironically, "The King" and his men will take their act to Madison Square Garden, where the New York Knicks await Wednesday.

Amid rumors of his exodus to the Knicks in 2010, James will make his second appearance this season at MSG, where he hit for 50 points last March. Kobe Bryant set the stage for his rival by scoring 61 points there Monday to set the arena's scoring record.

James insisted he has a different mindset.

"I'm not a video game where I need to score 60 or 70 points," he said. "I play the game to win the ballgame. I'm not about individual accolades."

James may have the energy to outdo Bryant after cruising through this one against the lowly Raptors, who fell behind by 22 points after the first quarter. James scored 16 in the period.

"We'll figure it out," Raptors forward Joey Graham said. "The sooner we figure it out, the better for us. It was just one of those games. We can't start off having LeBron having 16 points and them having 37 points in the first quarter."

Facing a 19-point halftime deficit, the Raptors dominated the third quarter by outscoring the Cavaliers, 26-15. The Cavs shot just 4-of-21 in the period.

Cleveland delivered the decisive blow in the fourth, when Gibson hit a three just 24 seconds in to set the tone for the final 12 minutes.

Chris Bosh scored 29 points for Toronto, which has lost three straight.

The Raptors shot just 40 percent (31-of-78) thanks in part to point guard Jose Calderon, who scored just two points on 1-of-9 shooting.

Toronto coach Jay Triano took some positives out of the loss.

"We did a good job of fighting back," the coach said. "Early in the game, we kind of dug ourselves into a bit of a hole."