Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 19 News List

LeBron James' 33 set up Cavaliers for victory

AP , CLEVELAND

LeBron James scored 33 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved over .500 for the first time in more than three years with their fourth straight win, 99-88 over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Jeff McInnis added 20 points, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 16 for the Cavaliers (4-3), who hadn't had a winning record since Jan. 12, 2001, when they were 17-16.

James was a high-school junior back then, but now he's the NBA's reigning rookie of the year, player of the week and league-leading scorer.

Ilgauskas scored 10 of Cleveland's 12 points during a decisive fourth-quarter spurt that helped the Cavs open a six-point lead and put the Warriors away.

Jason Richardson matched a season high with 27 points for Golden State, which was within 84-81 with 7:50 to play on Derek Fisher's 3-pointer.

Ilgauskas then hit a layup, James drained a pair of free throws, and Ilgauskas made two more free throws to push Cleveland's lead to 91-85. Richardson's jumper got the Warriors within four, but Ilgauskas scored again and Cleveland made its free throws down the stretch to ice it.

James added 12 rebounds, four assists and was the featured bobblehead for 20,562 happy fans.

Fisher added 15 points for the Warriors, who dropped to 1-7.

After Richardson dunked, the Cavaliers pushed the ball up the floor to McInnis, whose 3-pointer just beat the horn and gave Cleveland a 75-71 lead entering the fourth quarter.

James, whose shooting touch has improved as much as anything about his game, drained three 3-pointers and scored 21 points in the first half -- 17 on outside jumpers.

The Cavaliers entered the game as the league's worst 3-point shooting team, making just 13 in their first six games. However, they drained five 3s in the second quarter to open a 49-47 lead at halftime.

Richardson scored 12 points and James had 10 while trading baskets and "oohs and aahs" from the sellout crowd in the first quarter. Golden State led 29-24 after one.

Rockets 80, Nets 69

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Maurice Taylor, left on the court despite picking up three early fouls, made three straight shots to snap Houston out of an early offensive funk in the Rockets' 80-69 victory on Monday night over the New Jersey Nets.

The Rockets missed their first eight shots and fell behind 11-0 before Taylor, whose third foul came just 3:34 into the first quarter, scored Houston's first six points.

Jim Jackson closed the first quarter with a 3-pointer for 20-17 edge, giving Houston the lead for good, and the Rockets eventually went ahead by as many as 22 to snap a two-game skid and send New Jersey to its third straight loss.

Tracy McGrady returned from a two-game absence due to a strained right hip and scored 14 points, including a jumper in the lane on which he was fouled with 4:30 left to hold off a mild rally by the offensively inept Nets.

Jackson scored a season-high 18 and Taylor added 12.

New Jersey shot just 23-for-75.

The Rockets weren't all that much better offensively and were outrebounded 53-34, but they were able to hold Alonzo Mourning to 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting and forced Richard Jefferson into seven turnovers.

Yao Ming was in foul trouble most of the night and scored just six points.

Jefferson led the Nets with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

After Taylor pulled the Rockets out of their early offensive slump, Juwan Howard scored on a jump hook to close a 16-0 run that made it 30-17.

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