ATLANTA (AP) -- Cleveland coach Paul Silas considered a lineup
change after his Cavaliers lost their first three games.
Instead, Silas stuck with his starters -- especially LeBron
Playing all 48 minutes Tuesday night, James scored 25 points,
including two dunks and a 3-pointer in a three-minute span of the
third quarter, and the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 93-79.
The Hawks (0-4) scored only 25 second-half points -- their worst
output in a half in team history.
James helped the Cavaliers take the lead for good in the third
"I told him that if I had to play him the whole 48, I had to
get the win," Silas said. "It's too bad we're playing tomorrow
night but we'll deal with that tomorrow. He sparked us. He's doing
whatever it takes."
The Cavaliers will host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, and
James seems ready to put his time in again.
"Coach can play me as many minutes as he wants to, man," James
said. "It's early now. I've got all the energy, I've got all the
life I can give right now."
Cleveland's 7-foot-3 center Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 27 points,
most coming on easy baskets which exposed the Hawks' weakness in
the middle. With Jason Collier still limited by bronchitis,
42-year-old Kevin Willis started at center for Atlanta and scored
six points in 19 minutes.
Silas had considered changing his starting lineup before
deciding to stick with forward Drew Gooden and shooting guard
Lucious Harris. Gooden scored only two points in 18 minutes and
Harris picked up four fouls in seven minutes and scored only two
The Hawks led 54-52 at halftime but shot only 25 percent from
the field in the second half.
Atlanta's previous low total for a half was 26 points in the
second half of two games, most recently against Milwaukee on Nov.
15, 2000. The Hawks also scored only 26 points in the second half
at Cleveland on Nov. 19, 1996.
"We had 16 assists in the first half and then only one in the
third quarter," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "You can't win
Antoine Walker, who led the Hawks with 22 points, made only one
of eight shots in the second half. The Hawks were held to 11 points
in the final period.
Backup forward Predrag Drobnjak scored 19 points for Atlanta. Al
Harrington added 14.
The game was tied at 58 before James took control midway through
the third quarter.
James then stole a pass from Willis and scored on a reverse jam.
James' 3-pointer with 3:54 left in the period pushed Cleveland's
lead to 67-62.
The Hawks set a season high with 31 first-quarter points.
Cleveland (1-3) balanced James' outside shots by passing inside
to Ilgauskas, who scored 16 points in the first half, mostly from
under the basket.
The Hawks were within six points at 78-72 with 7:30 left to
play, but scored only seven points the rest of the way.
Collier played 12 minutes and scored two points with no
rebounds. ... Cleveland was 29-of-36 from the free-throw line;
Atlanta was 14-of-23. ... The Hawks drew a sellout crowd of 19,624
for their home opener.