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James Leads Cavs Over Pacers 106-97

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[February 21, 2008]  INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- LeBron James had his second consecutive triple-double, with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers 106-97 on Wednesday night.

It was James' sixth triple-double of the season and the 16th of his career, and it helped the Cavaliers end a two-game losing streak. Larry Hughes added 19 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points and 17 rebounds, but Cleveland lost guard Daniel Gibson to a sprained left ankle in the third quarter.

Danny Granger scored 30 points, Troy Murphy 20 and Jeff Foster had nine points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers, who lost their third straight.

Cleveland has won six straight against Pacers, including all three meetings this season. James had a triple-double in their last meeting in Indianapolis -- 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists -- in Cleveland's 111-106 win.

He nearly got this one in a losing cause. The fourth quarter was virtually even until James went up for a rebound and landed on Indiana's Travis Diener. Diener was called for a foul, and Indiana coach Jim O'Brien got a technical for disagreeing with the call. Cleveland made two of three free throws to take a 99-94 lead.

Hughes followed with a 3-pointer to make it 102-94 with 1:39 to go. Granger responded with a 3 of his own, but Indiana got no closer.

Gibson made five of five 3-pointers in the first half to help the Cavaliers take a 60-54 lead. Cleveland shot 60 percent from the field before the break and shot 8-of-13 from 3-point range. Granger had 18 points in the first half to keep the Pacers in it.

Indiana started the second half hot, and Granger made a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 67-66 lead with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter. A basket by Foster and a 3-pointer by Murphy made it 72-66 and forced a Cleveland timeout.

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Gibson sprained his ankle when Diener collided with him as they were diving for a loose ball. Gibson was helped off the court by teammates, and he didn't return. A Cavaliers spokesman said X-rays were negative.

Cleveland chipped Indiana's lead to 81-79 at the end of the third quarter.

Notes: Granger set the Indiana franchise record for consecutive free throws made with 64, breaking Reggie Miller's mark of 61 straight set in 2005. ... Cleveland shot 67 percent in the first quarter to take a 34-26 lead. ... Former Pacers C Rik Smits attended the game. ... Indiana F Jermaine O'Neal (sore left knee), G Jamaal Tinsley (sore left knee) and C David Harrison (sprained right ankle) all sat out with injuries. O'Neal has missed 14 straight games, while Tinsley has missed five in a row.

[Associated Press; By CLIFF BRUNT]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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