Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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LeBron James scores 31 in showcase win over Nets

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[November 19, 2008]  EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- LeBron James scored 31 points in showing the New York metropolitan area what might be on the free agency market in 2010 and the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled to their eighth straight win with a 106-82 decision over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.

James added eight rebounds, four assists and a remarkable blocked shot on a play late in the third quarter when he chased down Nets point guard Devin Harris on a fastbreak and prevented a dunk.

Mo Williams added 16 points and six assists and Delonte West hit all four of his 3-pointers in the decisive third quarter when Cleveland broke the game open.

Harris, who was looking for his fourth straight 30-point game, had 23 points to lead New Jersey. Vince Carter added 12, shooting 3-of-12 from the field as the Nets' two-game winning streak was snapped.

James is scheduled to become a free agent in 2010, and there already has been speculation that the Nets and the New York Knicks are already clearing salary cap room to make a run at the 23-year-old who on Tuesday became the youngest NBA player to reach the 11,000-point plateau.

Before the game, James said he would not hesitate to leave Cleveland if another franchise offers him a better chance to win multiple NBA titles.

"I think you do what is best for you and you do what is best for your career," James said when asked about his sense of loyalty to the Cavaliers before they played the Nets in New Jersey.


James put on a show for the less than capacity crowd at the Izod Center against a team partially owned by his friend, rapper Jay-Z. He dunked, hit layups and faked Jarvis Hayes out of his socks on a great cross-over dribble move that got him his 11,000th point, and finally entertained the crowd with a late tap-in on an alley-oop from Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the closing minutes.

By that time the game was over.

Trailing most of the first half, Cleveland got within three points at the half and then blew things open in the third quarter, outscoring New Jersey 28-13.

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Williams tied the game with a 3-pointer off an assist by James. West put Cleveland ahead with a 3-pointer from Williams and Williams nailed a 3-pointer off another James assist. West, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the quarter, then capped the 12-0 spurt, hitting another 3-pointer off a Williams' assist.

Cleveland led 77-65 at the end of the third quarter and Daniel Gibson iced the game, converting a four-point play to open the final quarter.

Notes: James (23 years, 323 days) replaced Kobe Bryant as the youngest player to score 11,000 points when he hit a jump shot late in the first quarter. Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was 25 years, 99 days when he got 11,000. ... Cavs coach Mike Brown seemed to pull a hamstring retrieving a loose ball in the game ... Cleveland outrebounded New Jersey 50-39 and blocked eight shots.

[Associated Press; By TOM CANAVAN]

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


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