After finishing 42-40 and missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season in 2004-05, the Cavaliers have been one of the league’s best teams in the first month of this season.
During the current seven-game streak, Cleveland has an average margin of victory of 14.6 points. James is among the league scoring leaders with 27.6 points per game.
James had his fifth career triple-double with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Cavs’ 123-120 victory at Philadelphia on Saturday.
“LeBron is amazing,” said Cavaliers coach Mike Brown. “We didn’t do anything tricky down the stretch. We put the ball in his hands and he helped win the game for us. This guy is making me look like I can coach.”
At home, the Cavs are 5-0 with a 20.2-point margin of victory. Their offense is ranked third in the NBA with 104.4 points per game, a big increase from last season’s 96.5 average.
“I think we played with a lot more energy,” said Pierce, who added 11 rebounds. “We scrapped for loose balls and that’s what we’re going to need to do on a more consistent basis. We’re playing a team with their back up against the wall, desperate for a win, and we were able to pull it out.”
Pierce has scored below 20 points only once this season, scoring more than 30 twice.
Boston, which has lost its only two road games this season, averages 98.1 points per game, ranking 10th in the NBA.
Defense is where the Celtics’ biggest problem has been. They are allowing 99.2 points per contest, ranking 25th in the league.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 21): Celtics - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Cavaliers - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Celtics - Pierce, 25.4 ppg and 8 rpg; Davis, 6.1 apg. Cavaliers - James, 27.6 ppg; Gooden, 9.2 rpg; Hughes, 4.5 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Cavaliers, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Apr. 19; Cavaliers 100-86. At Cleveland, James scored 32 points and Robert Traylor added 22 and 10 rebounds for the Cavs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Celtics - 0-2 on the road; Cavaliers - 5-0 at home.