Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/8

Game 1: Saturday, November 8th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 19th
Game 3: Sunday, February 1st
Game 4: Saturday, February 7th

Wizards 98

(3-3, 1-2 away)

Cavaliers 111

(1-5, 1-1 home)

    Coverage: FSOH

    7:30 PM ET, November 8, 2003

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 23 24 26 2598
    CLE 25 21 29 36111

    Top Performers

    WSH: J. Hayes 22 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast

    Cle: D. Miles 26 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Blk

    Fourth-quarter run lifts Cavs

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James had already proven he could play in the NBA. Now he has proof he can win.

    Cleveland's rookie star got his first win as a pro Saturday night and the Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak to open the season with a 111-98 win over the Washington Wizards.

    "It feels good," said James, who had 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in 45 minutes. "We came together as a team. That's what we need every night."

    Darius Miles and Ricky Davis scored 26 points apiece for the Cavaliers, who started the season 0-5.

    Davis scored 23 in the second half for Cleveland, which used a 13-2 burst midway through the fourth quarter to separate from Washington and then did just enough down the stretch to hold off the Wizards.

    "It's a load off everybody's shoulders, the players, the organization, everybody," Cavs coach Paul Silas said. "I didn't think we'd got 0-for-82 but to get the first win is pretty gratifying."

    After losing by one point at Indiana on Friday, the Cavs looked like a different team, executing their halfcourt offense and playing with intensity on defense -- something that had been missing in their first five games.

    "It's a big first step for us," said Carlos Boozer, who had 19 points and eight rebounds. "Now we got it."

    For the second straight night, backup center DeSagana Diop came up big for Cleveland. The 7-footer had four rebounds and five blocks in 18 minutes, forcing Cavs coach Paul Silas to leave starter Zydrunas Ilgauskas on the bench for all but four minutes of the second half.

    "We had to win this game," said Diop, an overweight benchwarmer in his first two seasons with Cleveland.

    Rookie Jarvis Hayes and Gilbert Arenas had 22 points each and Larry Hughes had 20 to pace the Wizards, who were within 81-78 with 9:00 remaining.

    But that's when Miles, who played his best all-around game since joining Cleveland before last season, took over. The 22-year-old scored eight straight points as the Cavaliers opened a 94-80 lead with 5:13 left on a putback by James.

    "He wasn't going to let us lose," Silas said. "I've never seem him play like that."

    On Friday night, Miles made a defensive lapse -- double-teaming Jermaine O'Neal when he was told not to -- in the final minute that helped cost the Cavaliers a win.

    He made up for it by matching his career-high in points and adding seven assists and six rebounds.

    "I messed up last night," Miles said. "I didn't do what Coach Silas said."

    Hayes hit a 3-pointer with 2:06 left as the Wizards pulled within 99-92, but James sealed Cleveland's first win this season with a steal and monster slam with 1:01 left.

    "I tried to take off from the free-throw line," James said. "But I think I would have walked."

    When the game was over, James calmly walked off the floor and flung his headband and wrist bands into the crowd. Later, wearing a Warren Sapp Miami Hurricanes' throwback jersey, James hugged friends and fans outside Cleveland's locker room.

    Arenas scored 11 points in the first half but was benched for the entire third quarter by Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, who may have been upset with his player for throwing the ball into the stands at halftime.

    Jordan said the benching was for "disciplinary" reasons.

    "Things have to be taught," he said. "Part of the maturity process is learning how to behave."

    James, who has already lost more games as a pro than he did during his entire four years in high school, was hoping this would be the night the Cavs finally got win No. 1.

    "It's about time," he said before the game. "We're about due."

    After scoring just seven points in his home debut, James missed his first four shots against Washington before making four straight and finishing with 10 points, five assists and three rebounds at half.

    Hayes was just as impressive, scoring 11 points to help the Wizards take a 47-46 halftime lead.

    Game notes

    Cleveland's 36-point fourth quarter and 65-point second half matched its season-highs from last year. ... Before the game, James attempted to make a dent in a large pile of fan mail. "I can't keep up with it, it's too much," he said after peeling open a large envelope containing a copy of Sports Illustrated with him on the cover. ... Following the loss at Indiana, the Cavaliers have lost 25 straight on the road. ... The Cavs hadn't started 0-5 since going 0-7 in 1995-96. Cleveland went 47-35 that year. ... Only two of Cleveland's starters -- Carlos Boozer and Davis -- played any college ball. By contrast, seven Wizards played in the NCAA Final Four. ... Cleveland's Ira Newble, activated before the game after missing five games with knee tendinitis, made his first shot of the season, a 3-pointer, in the second quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 98 111
    FGM-FGA 40-89 (.449) 44-84 (.524)
    3PM-3PA 4-16 (.250) 2-8 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 14-21 (.667) 21-31 (.677)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-38 11-42
    Assists 22 30
    Turnovers 12 11
    Steals 5 4
    Blocks 5 11
    Fast Break Points 7 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 17 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Jarvis Hayes Hayes
    Points: 22
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Darius Miles Miles
    Points: 26
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2