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NBA Lebron helps Cavs get past Orlando



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



James scores 30, Ilgauskas hits clutch shorts in 101-92 victoty.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James had 30 points and nine assists and Zydrunas Ilgauskas made two big baskets in the final 1:43 as the Cleveland Cavaliers began an important stretch at home with a 101-92 over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

Taking over when he had to, James had 18 points, six assists and four rebounds in the second half to help the Cavaliers avenge a three-point loss Tuesday night in Orlando.

Cleveland, which will play its next four games at Gund Arena, improved to 17-4 at home.

James made 12 of 13 free throws, missing his only attempt with 23 seconds left and the game already decided. He came in just 19-of-29 in his previous three games from the line.

Orlando rallied late

After trailing by 11 points in the fourth, Orlando closed to 92-89 on rookie Dwight Howard's free throw with 2:06 left. But Ilgauskas, playing with five fouls, tipped in his own miss, and after Sasha Pavlovic stole the ball from Grant Hill, Ilgauskas dropped a 6-foot fadeaway to make it 96-89 with 1:06 remaining.

Drew Gooden added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jeff McInnis had 17 points as the Cavs averted their second three-game losing streak this season.

Steve Francis, who had 30 points and 13 assists in the Magic's win over Cleveland, had just 15 on 5-of-12 shooting. Hill had 17 points, but just two in the fourth quarter when the Magic tried to rally.

James, selected an All-Star starter earlier in the week, has scored more than 25 points in six straight games and is averaging 29.6 in three games since sitting out two with a sprained left ankle.

James gets hot

After a quiet second quarter, James picked it up in the third, scoring eight points and adding five assists and two rebounds to help the Cavaliers carry a 77-70 lead into the fourth. Gooden also had eight points in the period.

Orlando's Tony Battie, who played most of last season in Cleveland after coming over in a trade from Boston, started 7-of-8 from the floor and scored 14 points -- two under his season-high -- as the Magic took a 51-50 halftime lead. But Battie didn't score in the second half.

Notes

Cavs starting forward Ira Newble ran on his injured Achilles on Saturday and could be back on Tuesday against Toronto. ... Referee Bill Kennedy needed a few moments to catch his breath after McInnis accidentally kicked the ball and hit him in a sensitive spot. "Better him than me," official Bob Delaney said of his hunched over colleague. ... Magic coach Johnny Davis said Hill's selection to the All-Star team is a fitting tribute to the forward's persistence in his comeback from injury.

"It's a tremendous honor," he said. "There's no better example of what the NBA is all about. He plays at a very high level and is such a quality person. For him to achieve the way he has after missing four years is simply incredible." ... Following the game, James had the sellout crowd of 20,562 yell "Happy Birthday, Gloria," to his mother.




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