New Orleans (30-25) at Cleveland (22-34)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Feb 23, 2004
  • TV: FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

LeBron James knows he doesn’t need to carry the Cleveland Cavaliers every night. He’s willing to let others lead the way.

James and the Cavs will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they meet the New Orleans Hornets at Gund Arena.

While James has been Cleveland’s main offensive weapon this season, the rookie star took a back seat to center Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Sunday. Ilgauskas had 31 points and 15 rebounds, leading the Cavs to a 92-86 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

“What can I say?” Ilgauskas said. “It was one of those days where the hoop looked like a swimming pool.”

James added 22 points to help the Cavs move within 2 1/2 games of the Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

However, James said he couldn’t understand how the Cavs allowed a 23-point lead to dwindle to four. Cleveland went more than four minutes in the final period without scoring.

“When you’re up by 23 points, you look at the clock and wonder why it’s going so slow,” James said. “We closed it out. We won.”

The Hornets had won three straight before falling to the New Jersey Nets 97-84 on Saturday.

Jamal Mashburn led the Hornets with 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Baron Davis added 17 points. But neither shot very well, finishing a combined 17-of-48 from the field.

“We weren’t very strong around the basket tonight,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “I thought they were a little stronger around the hole than we were, in terms of finishing and getting the defensive end. We got frustrated with their pressure.”

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