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James, Cavs coast past Grizzlies

Feb 25, 2009 - 4:21 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- With a view from the bench in the fourth quarter, LeBron James had a front row seat for Daniel Gibson's resurgence.

James did not exert much effort while collecting 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds in just under 30 minutes as the Cleveland Cavaliers pounded the Memphis Grizzlies, 94-79, on Tuesday.

"It helps a lot," James said of his extended rest. "This is the best I've felt this late in the season in a long time."

Gibson added 19 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, who improved to 26-1 at home, notching their third straight triumph here since their lone setback against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 19.

"(Gibson's) swagger was good to see," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "He was aggressive offensively. He did a nice job shooting and trying to drive the basketball."

It was the fifth straight win overall for Cleveland, which took a 22-point lead at halftime, led by 20 after three quarters and cruised the rest of the way.

The Cavs did so without guard Delonte West, who sat out with soreness in the right wrist that caused him to miss 16 games after it was fractured earlier this season. West had returned to score 25 points in Sunday's win over the Detroit Pistons.

Tarence Kinsey started in his absence and scored 11 points, while Mo Williams added 18 points and six assists.

But it was Gibson who came off the bench to shoot 9-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-7 from the arc. It took a little egging on from James, who knew Gibson was ready to break out.

"I told him today ... it was about time he started making some shots," Cleveland's superstar said. "He just gave me that little smile, that little grin."

Gibson, for his part, kept that look on his face throughout the contest.

"It felt great," he said. "I couldn't stop smiling. It's been frustrating having one good game, then the next game sort of just being out there.

The sharpshooter had been bothered by a sore toe, which has reduced his scoring average to just 8.2 points this season.

In fact, Gibson - a key contributor for Cleveland in the last two postseasons - had not scored in double figures since February 4, when he hit for 11 points in a win over the New York Knicks.

"I've been working in the gym on concentrating," said Gibson, who was 2-of-17 from the field in his first three games after All-Star break. "Whenever I don't concentrate, the shot is short."

James did not play in the fourth quarter with the game's outcome never in doubt, allowing him to serve as a cheerleader for Gibson and company, who preyed on the road-weary Grizzlies.

Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick scored 13 points apiece for Memphis, which fell to 3-22 on the road. The troika of road triumphs are an NBA worst.

The Grizzlies' leading scorer, O.J. Mayo, scored just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-6 on 3-pointers.

"You're always concerned when your main guys can't score or don't make shots, but that's basketball," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "You go through stretches where you're on fire and you make shots, and you go through stretches where you don't. We have to do a much better job of executing."

"That's the way it goes sometimes," Mayo said. "You make some shots, you miss some shots. You have to keep playing hard, keep attacking and try to get some wins."

Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, they play seven of their next nine games away from home, putting them in the same boat as the Cavaliers. Cleveland opens a four-game road trip over five nights, starting with a back-to-back against Houston and San Antonio this week.

Memphis, though, will have a head time picking up another road win if it plays as it did against the Cavs.

"I'm not down as much because of the loss by 20 points," Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "I think the way we played and lost by 20 points is not acceptable to us."

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