James, Ilgauskas lead Cleveland past Golden State

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CLEVELAND (AP)—LeBron James sure does look comfortable in Cleveland right now.

James scored 23 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas added a season-high 21, and the Cavaliers matched their best home start in franchise history with a 112-97 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Cleveland (13-3) has won 12 of 13 and is a league-best 9-0 at home, equaling its top home start, first set in 1976-77 and repeated in 1991-92.

“They have everything they need in that starting lineup and they’re starting to put all the pieces together,” Golden State guard Stephen Jackson said after the Warriors became the victim of another Cavaliers’ blowout.

The Cavaliers have won four straight by an average of 20 points, allowing coach Mike Brown to rest James, who has averaged 26 minutes in Cleveland’s last three.

James, the league’s leading scorer with a 27.5 average, was removed from the game at the end of the third quarter, playing 31 minutes. He was 9-of-13 from the floor, had seven rebounds and eight assists.

James matched a career low in minutes played with 17 and had a season-low 14 points in Cleveland’s 117-82 win over Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

“We’re playing great basketball right now,” James said. “We’re flowing the same way every game. We have the confidence flowing.”

The Warriors (5-11) have lost five straight, including the first four on their current road trip. Golden State is 2-7 away from home and ends its trip in New York on Saturday night.

“We aren’t passing the ball,” Jackson said. “When you share the ball, good things happen. When everybody is out there for (themselves), you don’t win like that.”

Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson each scored 16 points for Cleveland.

C.J. Watson led Golden State with 17 points. Jamal Crawford added 15.

Cleveland, which hadn’t trailed in winning its previous three games, found the Warriors more difficult to deal with, at least in the early stages. Golden State ran off to a 15-4 lead, made 13 of 25 shots in the first quarter and was ahead for most of the half.

“They play a funky style of basketball that we’re not quite used to,” Brown said. “It gave us a ton of problems. In the third quarter we locked them down defensively.”

The Cavaliers took over late in the second quarter and never looked back. James, who scored seven points in the first period, re-entered the game midway through the second with the Cavaliers trailing 41-40. He scored nine points and assisted on two other baskets, helping Cleveland build a 58-52 halftime lead.

“They had their way with us in the second half,” Golden State coach Don Nelson said.

The Cavaliers continued to roll in the third quarter, building a 71-57 lead. The Cavaliers led by 26 points on two occasions in the third period. Their biggest lead was 28 in the fourth.

Notes

The Cavaliers play at Milwaukee on Saturday night. … Forwards Ben Wallace and Wally Szczerbiak both had nine rebounds for Cleveland. … Crawford and F Ronny Turiaf were assessed technical fouls for Golden State. … Crawford returns to New York on Saturday after being traded to the Warriors for Al Harrington last week.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Golden State
C.J. Watson C.J. Watson
6-7,  17 Pts
3 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Cleveland
L. James LeBron James
9-13,  23 Pts
7 Rebs, 8 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Friday, Nov 28