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And as has become the norm this season, James made a spectacular defensive play as impressive as any of his dunks. Early in the third quarter, James cut across the lane and perfectly timed his jump to slap a layup by rookie Derek Rose off the backboard glass.
Cleveland's big men picked up the slack for Ilgauskas from the outset.
Wallace scored eight of the Cavs' first 21 points and finished the first quarter with five rebounds. Hickson added six points and Varejao five as the trio combined for 19 points and 10 rebounds in the period as Cleveland opened a 15-point lead it pushed to 25 in the third quarter.
Notes: Gooden remained back in Chicago for treatment on an ankle injury that has sidelined him for seven games. Coach Vinny Del Negro said Gooden could return for Saturday's home game against Minnesota. ... Hickson split his lip in the first quarter and needed one stitch to close the cut. ... Cavs F Wally Szczerbiak played six minutes after missing two games with a sore knee.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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