Sat, Nov 11, 2006 - Page 18 News List

LeBron exits early, but with win

TAKING SOME HEAT After being accused of quitting 10 seconds early in a loss on Tuesday, the Cavaliers' star came back to lead his team to a win over the Mavericks

AP , CLEVELAND

Dirk Nowitzki, left, of the Dallas Mavericks is guarded by Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns in an NBA game played on Thursday at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

PHOTO: AFP

LeBron James only stayed on the floor as long as needed this time.

James, accused of quitting on his team too early in his previous game, scored 19 points with a season-high 12 assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Chicago Bulls 113-94 on Thursday.

Drew Gooden added 20 points in three quarters, Anderson Varejao had a career-high 15 and Sasha Pavlovic 16 points in a season-high 25 minutes for the Cavaliers, whose bench went 21-of-30 from the field and helped Cleveland bounce back from an overtime loss on Tuesday to the Atlanta Hawks.

Following that game, James took some heat for walking off the court while there was still about 10 seconds left on the clock. The Cavaliers were down by nine points at that point, but that didn't seem to matter to critics who felt James should have played hard until the final horn.

Against the Bulls, James took a leisurely walk to Cleveland's bench with 5:12 left. By then, the Cavs had built a 24-point lead and coach Mike Brown decided to give rookie Shannon Brown some playing time.

Mavericks 119, Suns 112

At Phoenix, Dirk Nowitzki scored 35 points, Jason Terry had 30 and Jerry Stackhouse added 23 to help the Mavericks beat the Suns in a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals.

Leandro Barbosa scored 30 points, Shawn Marion had 21 and Steve Nash added 20 for Phoenix, which fell to 1-5, the Suns' worst start since they dropped 13 in a row to open the 1996-97 season.

This was the first meeting of the clubs since last summer's Western Conference finals, won by Dallas in six games. And it was played at the same frantic pace, with six lead changes and three ties in the final quarter. But this time the teams were motivated by desperation rather than a trip to the NBA Finals.

The Suns and Mavs entered the game with a combined 1-8 record, and both teams were last in their divisions.

Warriors 121, Hornets 116

At Oakland, California, Baron Davis had 36 points and nine assists against his former club and Golden State knocked off the NBA's last unbeaten team with a victory over New Orleans.

Monta Ellis scored 21 points and Davis hit five of the Warriors' nine free throws in the final 37 seconds of the game as Golden State scored easily and often against the Hornets' usually impressive defense.

Troy Murphy added 20 points for the Warriors, who avenged a 97-93 loss in Oklahoma City two days earlier -- the Hornets' fourth straight win to open the season.

Chris Paul had a career-high 34 points and 10 assists in another dominant game, but the Hornets couldn't extend the best start in the franchise's 19-year history.

David West scored 21 points and Peja Stojakovic had 18 at the start of a three-game road stretch for the Hornets, who won their home openers in both New Orleans and Oklahoma City.

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