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Cleveland wins back-to-back for first time since Nov. 26-27

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James was not about to let a sore left
ankle, lack of sleep or blown layup affect him.

James hit two key 3-pointers down the stretch and scored 22
points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Los Angeles
Clippers 94-84 Tuesday night.

"I thought we would be a lot more tired," said James, who got
treatment on his ankle before the game and shot just 7-for-20 from.
"I felt OK.

"We ran early and just jumped on them. We worked together
defensively and were just playing complete basketball."

Cleveland had lost five of six before rallying for a one-point
overtime win Monday in New Orleans. The win Tuesday gave the
Cavaliers victories on consecutive nights for the first time since
Nov. 26-27 and revitalized their quest for home-court advantage in
the playoffs.

"We got to bed at three or four this morning, but I thought we
had an awful lot of energy," said Brendan Malone, 3-2 since
replacing the fired Paul Silas as Cavaliers coach. "We pushed the
ball and ran off our defense. Our defense was very good."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked
shots as the Cavaliers moved within 1½ games of Washington for
fourth place overall in the Eastern Conference. The top four teams
get the home-court edge in the first round and Cleveland is 26-9 at
Gund Arena.

"We want the playoffs and we want to be at home, too," said
point guard Eric Snow. "Every team is fighting for it now and
we're right there. We have to keep winning."

Corey Maggette scored 26 points to lead Los Angeles, but the
Clippers have lost four straight on the road, where they are 7-26
with eight of their final 11 games away from home.

The Clippers were without starter Bobby Simmons for the first
time all season. The forward, averaging 16.6 points, bruised his
left leg Sunday against Minnesota.

"Bobby's the 'X' factor for us," Maggette said. "He brings
another edge to our team. We had to try to weather the storm and
(Quinton) Ross was hurt, but that's no excuse."

Ross went scoreless in nine minutes and did not play in the
second half because of back spasms.

"LeBron wasn't even hitting shots," Maggette said. "But other
guys did. They played harder than we did."

James scored 44 points and played all 53 minutes Monday night in
a 108-107 overtime victory. He missed nine of his first 13 shots
Tuesday, including an uncontested fast-break layup midway through
the third quarter -- a play he normally finishes with a power dunk.

That miss gave the Clippers a glimmer of hope and came shortly
after the Cavaliers opened a 19-point lead. Elton Brand scored
eight points as the Clippers closed the quarter with a 15-8 spurt.

Los Angeles continued to chip away and got within 80-75. Then
James swished a 3-pointer with 3:48 to play. James hit another 3
with 2:13 left for an 88-77 advantage.

"Some teams underestimate our shooting," James said. "I have
no shame in pulling up for a three-pointer."

Chris Kaman had 18 points and Brand finished with 15 points and
12 rebounds for the Clippers.

Game notes
The Cavaliers added security at all entrances to Gund Arena
as each fan in the sellout crowd of 20,562 got a James bobblehead.
The promotion went smoothly. ... The win was Cleveland's first in
the second game of a back-to-back set since Dec. 2 at Denver. The
Cavs are 4-11 overall and broke a nine-game losing streak in that
situation. ... Snow and G Jeff McInnis each had seven assists and
no turnovers for Cleveland. Snow has a 39-to-5 ratio over his last
six games. ... Clippers G Rick Brunson shot 3-for-3 on 3-pointers
and had all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.