Red-hot Cavaliers drop Nets
LeBron James scored 19 points as the Cavs won their fourth in five nights.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James scored 19 points and added a season-high 13 rebounds, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers cap their most successful week in nearly 14 years with a 96-91 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.
By beating San Antonio, Boston, Milwaukee and New Jersey since Tuesday, the Cavaliers have won four games in five nights for the first time since Feb. 2-6, 1993. It's just the streak they were looking for before departing on a seven-game, two-week road trip.
Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden scored 21 points apiece and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 as the Cavaliers improved to 15-3 at home this season -- and 26-3 since March 5 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Vince Carter and Mikki Moore had 18 points apiece and Richard Jefferson 17 for the Nets, who pulled within 93-91 on Jefferson's 3-pointer with 17 seconds left.
Gooden gave the Nets a chance to tie it by missing one of two free throws with 9.3 seconds to go. However, Carter misfired on a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining and Gooden sealed Cleveland's seventh win in eight games by hitting a pair of free throws in the final second.
After trailing most of the night, the Nets pulled even at 83 on a jumper by Carter. But on Cleveland's next trip, James whipped a pass underneath to Ilgauskas for a dunk with 3:44 remaining.
Cavs guard Eric Snow then made the game's biggest play, diving to tip a loose ball ahead to James, who went in for a reverse slam to make it 87-83 with 3:26 left.
Held to eight points -- his lowest output since Dec. 29, 2004 -- in Friday's win at Milwaukee, James only had nine in the first 35 minutes before scoring twice in the final 43 seconds of the third quarter as the Cavaliers took a 71-65 lead into the fourth.
James' flurry came shortly after tempers flared when Hughes and New Jersey's Bostjan Nachbar got tangled as they headed up court. The pair went tumbling to the floor in a heap, and players from both sides rushed to separate them before things got nastier.
The Nets didn't have their usual size as big men Jason Collins (strained lower back) and rookie Josh Boone (migraine) were inactive.
Cleveland outscored New Jersey 13-3 to open the second quarter and the Cavaliers built a 16-point lead before Jefferson and Kidd hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Nets close within 46-38 at halftime.
The Nets put themselves in a big hole on Friday, falling behind 18-0 at the start before rallying to beat Chicago. They scored on their first possession against Cleveland, but after being tied 12-all, the Cavaliers went on a 12-2 run and led 27-21 entering the second.
James, a devoted Ohio State fan, predicts the Buckeyes will beat Florida 31-27 in Monday's BCS national championship. ... Nets coach Lawrence Frank is hoping Collins, who didn't make the trip and missed Friday's win over Chicago, will be able to play Tuesday against Toronto. ... Boone has had a history of severe headaches and has been bothered by them two other times in the last three months, Frank said. ... Gooden's 31-point, 16-board night in Milwaukee on Friday made him just the fifth player this season to get more than 30 points and 15 rebounds. Yao Ming, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer and Dirk Nowitzki are the others.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.