|Orlando center Dwight Howard pulls down one of his 20 rebounds as he outmuscles Rockets’ Trevor Ariza in the first half. (Kevin Kolczynski/Reuters)|
Cavaliers silence tired Kings in OT
James’s 34 points, defense spark win
LeBron James had 34 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers held the Kings scoreless in overtime to pick up a 117-104 win last night in Sacramento.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit three 3-pointers in the extra session and finished with 25 points as the Cavaliers beat the Kings for the seventh straight time. Mo Williams returned from a bruised knee to score 21 of his 27 points after halftime.
Cleveland heads into its Christmas showdown with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers having won seven of eight games.
James scored 26 points in the first half but it was his defense in the fourth quarter and overtime against rookie Tyreke Evans that proved to be the difference. The Kings missed all seven shots and turned the ball over twice in OT.
Evans finished with 28 points, but made only one of eight shots in the fourth and overtime as the Cavaliers put James on him in a sign of respect. Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson each scored 18 and Spencer Hawes had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Sacramento.
Anthony Parker hit a jumper on Cleveland’s first possession of overtime that proved to be all the Cavs would need. Ilgauskas’s first 3-pointer made it 111-104 with just over 2 minutes left. He hit another 3 with less than a minute remaining to put the game away and added the third with 14 seconds left for good measure. Ilgauskas has made all four of his 3-point attempts this season.
Two days after rallying from 35 points down to win in Chicago in the biggest comeback in the NBA in 13 seasons, the Kings stayed close with the more heralded Cavaliers the entire game.
Neither team was ever able to open up a double-digit lead in regulation and Sacramento had a chance to win it but Evans couldn’t get a shot off in the final seconds of regulation.
Evans had tied it at 104 with an acrobatic drive past James with 38.7 seconds remaining. But that was all Evans would get against James down the stretch. He often tried to take the ball right at James with little success. After one nifty move, he ended shooting an air ball from in close.
Magic 102, Rockets 87 - Dwight Howard had 20 rebounds and 13 points, and host Orlando Magic rolled to an easy win over Houston.
Howard outmuscled a Rockets team lacking size and strength in the middle with Yao Ming injured. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year blocked four shots and showed how dominant he can be even on a night he didn’t have his best offensive game.
Jameer Nelson added 15 points in his first start since Nov. 16, helping the Magic win for the fifth time in six games ahead of a big Christmas Day matchup against the Boston Celtics.
Carl Landry had 20 points and Aaron Brooks finished with 17 for the Rockets, who could do little with Howard roaming the paint.
Heat 80, Jazz 70 - Dwyane Wade scored 29 points and host Miami held Utah to its lowest offensive output of the season.
Udonis Haslem added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who improved to 11-1 against Utah since the start of the 2004-05 season. Quentin Richardson scored 11 for Miami, which also had its lowest score of the year, 1 point shy of the 81 it managed in a win over New Jersey last month.
Trail Blazers 98, Spurs 94 - Jerryd Bayless scored 31 points in his first start for injured All-Star Brandon Roy, leading hobbled Portland to victory in San Antonio.
Portland played without Roy and center Joel Przybilla, who ruptured a tendon in his right leg in a win against Dallas on Tuesday to become the latest Blazer to go down.
Nuggets 124, Hawks 104 - J.R. Smith came off the bench to score a season-high 41 points, hitting 10 3-pointers, and host Denver beat Atlanta.
Carmelo Anthony added 24 points and rookie Ty Lawson, starting in place of the injured Chauncey Billups (groin), had 16, helping Denver win its sixth in a row at home.
Thunder 117, Suns 113 - Kevin Durant scored 38 points, including a key jumper from behind the key with 14.4 seconds left, lifting visiting Oklahoma City over Phoenix.
For the Thunder, it was their first win over the Suns since Feb. 14, 2007. It also was their 14th victory of the season, a figure they did not reach until Feb. 28 last season in their 59th game.
Wizards 109, Bucks 97 - Antawn Jamison had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Earl Boykins scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, lifting Washington to victory in Milwaukee.
Raptors 94, Pistons 64 - Andrea Bargnani scored 21 points, Hedo Turkoglu added 11 points and a season-best 11 assists, and Toronto beat Detroit in Auburn Hills, Mich., matching the lowest point total in franchise history.
Timberwolves 103, Nets 99 - Al Jefferson scored a season-high 27 points and visiting Minnesota got a favorable video review in the final minute when the officials reversed a ruling that said the ball went out of bounds off the leg of Wolves swingman Corey Brewer to help defeat New Jersey in the battle of the NBA’s two worst teams.