for this game

James, Cavaliers continue to thwart competition

Dec 22, 2008 - 4:48 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- At this rate, LeBron James may want to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

James had 31 points and seven assists as the Cavaliers improved upon the franchise's best start to a season with a 102-91 victory over the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder.

"He is so big and physical that he creates so many mismatch problems and he can do almost anything he wants to at any time," said Thunder guard Desmond Mason, who had the task of guarding the superstar forward for most of the night.

Mo Williams and Delonte West - two of the biggest reasons for the team's torrid pace - combined for 38 points for the Cavaliers (23-4), who shot 55 percent (42-of-76) en route to their 13th win in 14 games.

"Guys like Delonte are stepping up and playing good basketball right now," James said.

"This was a good trip for us, we came out and took care of business. We've been focused, even when they would make runs and make shots with guys on them, we were able to refocus and find a way to win again on the road."

Cleveland coach Mike Brown agreed.

"(West and Williams) were big for us," the coach said. "They stepped up and hit shot after shot after shot. They did a great job of defending bigger guards and they used their athleticism to make plays."

Presumably thanks in part to that success, the 23-year-old James told The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Saturday that he "will consider" inking an extension with the Cavaliers this summer.

The reigning scoring champion and perhaps the league's most-coveted commodity, James can become a free agent in the summer of 2010, when he can deny the $17.4 million player's option on his contract.

It has been considered a foregone conclusion that James would opt out of his deal and become available to the highest bidder - of which there are many, including the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and Detroit Pistons.

But he continues to push Cleveland to a championship level.

"We are on a roll, and that's three tough teams in a row that have really came out and give us a run," Williams said.

"We know what we have to do to close out games. We tried to get out and run as much as we can, and we got some easy baskets, but they fought us every inch of the way. They didn't let up."

Granted, James did not have to break a sweat against the miserable Thunder, who stayed in the game but could not get over the hump.

"We played pretty well for a large part of the game, but the LeBron factor came into play late," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.

"He is such a special player that can do so much. Seven assists for a guy his size is pretty special. Our crowd was great tonight and really pushed us, but we can't give up 30 points in a quarter and expect to win."

Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 24 for Oklahoma City, which suffered a 117-82 setback to Cleveland last month - a game in which James played just 17 minutes.

"This game is one we fought hard to stay in," Durant said. "We played pretty well and we just couldn't get stops when we needed to.

"They are a well-built team, and they are a championship quality team, and they beat us, pure and simple."