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NBA James, Ilgauskas propel Cavs past Bulls, 100-91



Published: Thu, February 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cleveland is 21-5 in home games.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cavaliers' All-Star twosome refuse to take any break.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron James scored 41 of Cleveland's 57 points in the second half as the Cavaliers came back from a few days off with a 100-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

Ilgauskas scored 33 points -- 26 after halftime -- and added eight rebounds and seven blocks, matching a career high. James finished with 27 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and five steals as the Cavaliers improved to 21-5 at home.

"We're the two All-Stars on the team," James said, "and we're All-Stars for a reason. We showed why tonight."

Trading shot for shot and basket for basket, Ilgauskas and James combined for 24 of their team's 30 points in the third period when the Bulls, who beat Miami in overtime on Tuesday, began to look tired.

35 consecutive points

The Ilgauskas-James Show continued in the fourth quarter, and at one point, the pair combined to score 35 consecutive points for Cleveland.

"You kind of expect it out of LeBron," Cavaliers coach Paul Silas said. "If Z continues to play like that in the second half of the season, we've got a good chance to do something really special."

Ben Gordon scored 21 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, to pace Chicago, which had its winning streak stopped at four.

Kirk Hinrich added 13 points and Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry 12 apiece for the Bulls, who didn't have much left in reserve after their game against the Heat.

Reversal

The Bulls did a nice job containing the 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas in the first half, holding him to just seven points. But it was a different story in the second half as Cleveland's big man did almost anything he pleased.

Leading by four at half, the Cavaliers began to take control midway through the third quarter with Ilgauskas and James, who helped the East win Sunday's All-Star game in Denver, doing most of the damage.

Ilgauskas scored eight points in the first six minutes and James ended an 11-4 spurt with a 3-point play as the Cavaliers opened a 60-47 lead.

Chandler was the only one back for Chicago after a steal, but he did a poor job of wrapping up James, who was able to muscle in his off-balance shot while being fouled.

Ilgauskas followed with a three-point play and the Cavaliers pushed their lead to 73-62 after three.

Late rally

Gordon heated up from the outside and Curry's dunk brought the Bulls to 79-72 with 9:12 remaining. But Ilgauskas and James then traded baskets with James' 3-pointer from the top of the key making it 86-74.

The Bulls closed to 90-79 but Ira Newble scored underneath on a sweet pass from James with 3:54 to go, the first basket scored by a Cavalier other than James or Ilgauskas since the 7:20 mark of the third.

"You stop LeBron and he finds people," Chandler said, shaking his head. "He's definitely amazing out there."

Both teams had trouble shaking off some All-Star break rust in the first half.

The Cavaliers made just 11-of-17 free throws, committed 19 personal fouls and shot 36 percent from the floor. Chicago, meanwhile, hit only 28 percent (11-of-39) of its field-goal attempts and were 15-of-23 at the line.




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