"Nobody on this team wanted that shot more than Lucious,"
James scored 27 points and assisted on Harris' 3-pointer with 6
seconds left as the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers won their
eighth straight at home, 103-97 over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday
At 12-6, the Cavaliers have the best record in the NBA's Eastern
Conference -- the first time they've had that distinction after 15
games since March 21, 1989, when they were 48-17 and James was 4
There's a long way to go this season, but Cleveland is looking
more and more like a legitimate power -- and James is the biggest
"You expect something from him every night that he's going to
do to help you win," Cavs coach Paul Silas said. "And that's who
James, who added eight assists, was asked if the rest of the
league is taking the Cavaliers' fast start seriously.
"They'd better," he said. "I feel like we're a good team
right now and we're going to keep going."
After his two free throws put the Cavaliers up 97-93 with 1:35
to play, James stole Richard Jefferson's crosscourt pass and
streaked in for a thunderous slam dunk. As the Gund Arena crowd
erupted, the Nets called timeout and James walked to Cleveland's
bench screaming, "This is my house."
The Nets pulled within 100-97 on Jason Collins' tip with 30.9
seconds to go, but James fed Harris in the right corner and the
shooting guard, who spent seven seasons with the Nets before
signing with Cleveland as a free agent last summer, drilled his 3 --
Cleveland's first after missing seven.
It was a familiar sight to Jason Kidd.
"I told the guys in the break that they hadn't hit a 3 all
night," said Kidd, who played his second game after returning from
knee surgery. "And then Sweet Lu stepped and hit it. I've seen him
do that before."
As the Nets walked by him on the way to their bench, Harris shot
a few of his former teammates a lighthearted glare as if to say,
'Don't you miss me?'
"I looked at them, but it was all in fun," Harris said.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Drew
Gooden had 16 and 10 -- his fourth straight double-double -- for
Cleveland, which hadn't won eight straight home games since
Jefferson led New Jersey with 27 points and Kidd had 10 points
in 20 minutes. Collins added a season-high 17 points and Alonzo
Mourning had 16 for the Nets, who have lost seven straight road
With Nets coach Lawrence Frank trying to manage Kidd's limited
playing time wisely, the point guard re-entered the game with 4:37
left and the score tied 89-89.
Cavs guard Jeff McInnis then scored on a beautiful spin move in
the lane before Eric Snow picked up a loose ball and fed James, who
had missed his previous seven shots, for a layup to give the
Cavaliers a 93-89 lead.
Kidd countered with a 3-pointer before McInnis' jumper made it
95-92. James then took charge, making all the big plays down the
stretch. His dunk came when he anticipated Jefferson's pass, cut in
the passing lane and was off to the rim.
"I saw what was happening," James said. "It was a back screen
for Jason Kidd to hit a 3, and I was in the right position to get
the steal and turn the game."
Nets president Rod Thorn remains adamant he has no plans to
trade Kidd. "We don't give guys like that away," Thorn said of
Kidd, who has made it clear he isn't happy in New Jersey. "As far
as I'm concerned, I want to keep him. He's a great player. If you
have a great player who is healthy, you keep those guys. Great
players don't come along everyday." ... James could have gone in
for a dunk in the closing seconds, but decided not to. "The game
was over," he said. "There's no reason to put it in their face,
we were up by six. That's disrespectful." ... On Monday, James
filmed another commercial for Bubblicious bubble gum. He signed a
$5 million contract with the company in February. James' signature
flavor, LeBron's Lemonade Lightning, will debut next month. ...
Cavs F/C Anderson Varejao had a career-high six rebounds and six
points in 10 minutes.