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James' perimeter shots beat Knicks

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James took his game outside, and he
wasn't cold at all.

James scored 17 points -- all on jumpers beyond 16 feet -- and
Chris Mihm had 19, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 94-80 win
Monday night over the listless New York Knicks.

The one rap on James was that the rookie couldn't shoot from the
perimeter, but the 6-foot-8 point guard showed nice range in
draining seven outside shots, including all three of his 3-point
attempts.

"Every day in practice I go into the gym and I hear those
voices that say I can't shoot," said James, who came in just
2-for-12 on 3-pointers. "I just keep working at it. I know they're
going to fall for me, and tonight they did."

James didn't attempt his first shot that wasn't a jumper until
he missed a finger roll from 4 feet with 3:09 remaining.

Since training camp opened, James has spent extra time working
on a flawed outside shot that looks better with nearly every
attempt. He's no longer fading backward, a bad habit he developed
in high school, and his shot has gotten softer.

"This didn't happen by chance," Cavs coach Paul Silas said.
"We've worked on it, and he's willing to put the time in. "

James swished his first four jumpers -- two 3-pointers -- as the
Cavaliers bolted to a 13-0 lead before building a 22-point lead in
the first half.

Ricky Davis added 16 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in
just three quarters for the Cavaliers, who have won two straight
following an 0-5 start.

Carlos Boozer had 15 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 13 for
Cleveland, which only won two straight once all last season when it
went an NBA-worst 17-65.

"Everybody is so focused right now, it's like I'm back in high
school," James said. "Everybody is getting the shots they want
and they're falling for us."

Allan Houston scored 22 points on 9-of-25 shooting and Kurt
Thomas had 14 points for the Knicks, who have dropped five in a row
to Cleveland and nine of their last 10 at Gund Arena.

Knicks coach Don Chaney was upset with his team's defensive
effort.

"We played scared," he said. "We respected their speed too
much and we didn't get into guarding guys. We played afraid and I
don't know why."

Houston, averaging 31 points in his last four games, scored the
Knicks' final seven points as New York closed the third quarter
with a 17-7 run to pull to 74-65.

But after missing nine straight shots, the Cavaliers finally
found their stroke as James hit three more jumpers, the final one a
3-pointer from the right wing to cap an 11-2 run that put the
Knicks away.

"This was just horrible, one of the worst," Houston said.
"You should never come out and go through the motions, and that's
what we did."

From the moment James hit his first jumper -- a 17-footer -- it
was the Cavaliers' night.

Cleveland scored 13 straight to open the game as the Knicks
missed their first six shots from the floor. After a monstrous slam
dunk by Davis made it 11-0, the Knicks called a timeout and James
walked to the middle of the floor flexing his muscles and
screaming, "Let's go!" to the crowd.

On the Knicks' bench, Chaney was yelling at his players, who
didn't get out quickly enough to contest wide-open looks for James.

"I think LeBron will be a great shooter, but I think I could
make a couple of shots if nobody is in my face," Chaney said. "To
me, that's what happened tonight, we had nobody in anybody's
face."

The Cavaliers shot 68 percent in the opening period to take a
32-20 lead.

Silas rested his starters for much of the second quarter, but
the Cavs, who have four games this week, were still able to push
their lead to 22 before the Knicks cut it to 17 at halftime.

Game notes
In his last three games, Davis is averaging 17 points, 9.3
rebounds and 7.3 assists. ... Before the game, Silas was asked what
the media attention would have been like if James had wound up in
New York instead of Cleveland. "Double. I know New York," said
Silas, an assistant coach with the Knicks from 1989-92. "But he
would have handled it. He has a way of saying the right thing at
the right time." ... The Cavaliers, who have lost 25 straight road
games, are at Miami on Wednesday night. Cleveland's last win away
from Gund Arena was on Jan. 12 last season at Seattle.