<
>

Cavs beat Celtics, stay unbeaten at home

CLEVELAND (AP) -- For the second straight season, the Cavaliers'
front office has chosen the catchy slogan -- "One for All. All for
One" -- to help sell tickets, T-shirts and assorted merchandise.

The motto is designed to promote the entire team. It fits LeBron
James even better.

The One, indeed.

James scored 36 points for the second game in a row, Larry
Hughes added 25 and the Cavaliers stayed the NBA's hottest team
with their eighth straight win, 115-93 over the Boston Celtics on
Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers (9-2) improved to 6-0 at home, where they're not
just winning but dominating. Cleveland has won by an average of 21
points per game at the revamped and renamed Quicken Loans Arena.
But the Cavs' improvement on the floor has been the biggest change.

Cleveland last won eight straight games in 1997 when James was
in middle school, long before he became an Akron high school legend
and All-Star forward. In three years as a pro, he has never been
better, and neither have the Cavaliers.

"We're on a great roll," James said. "For the first time I
feel great because our team is playing real well."

James is having an affect on the Cavaliers, who are off to their
best start since the 1976-77 team also went 9-2.

"We don't feel like we should lose," said Hughes, who has
quickly become the running mate James never had before as a pro.
"That's LeBron's mentality and it's trickling down to everybody."

Drew Gooden added 13 points and 15 rebounds -- his fifth
double-double -- and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 19 points for the
Cavaliers, whose closest game at home was a 15-point win over
Washington on Nov. 15.

In their past two games, James and Hughes, who signed with
Cleveland as a free agent during the summer, have combined for 134
points.

"I'm not having to call much," Cavs coach Mike Brown said.
"It's LeBron, it's Larry, it's LeBron, it's Larry. And everybody
else is feeding off those two guys."

Ricky Davis scored 27 points with 15 rebounds, Paul Pierce had
24 points and Mark Blount 21 for Boston, which was still within 10
points with 6:55 left.

But Hughes drilled a 3-pointer, Eric Snow dropped two free
throws and James completed a three-point play as the Cavs pushed
their lead to 102-89 with 4:57 left. Safely ahead, Brown then
emptied his bench of reserves -- something he has been able to do
during each home game this season.

A 3-pointer by Davis brought the Celtics within 74-72 in the
third quarter, when James took over at point guard and took over
the game.

He scored Cleveland's next 10 points, capping his outburst and a
15-point period by burying a 3-pointer from the top of the key over
Dan Dickau and Justin Reed with 1.9 seconds left to give the Cavs a
84-73 lead.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers was impressed with James' all-around
game.

"The difference in him now from last year is that he keeps his
teammates involved," Rivers said. "He scored 36 in the flow, and
if he was selfish he could have scored 50 and they may have lost."

In the first half, the Cavaliers lost one of their best outside
shooters when point guard Damon Jones sprained his left ankle after
banging knees with Davis.

Jones was moving to his left while playing defense against Davis
and rolled his ankle when the two got locked up. Jones did not
return and is questionable for Thursday's game at Indiana.

Back-to-back three-point plays by Gooden and James helped the
Cavs open a 16-point lead in the second quarter. James got ahead on
a fast break and was fouled by Pierce, who tried to wrap his arms
around Cleveland's forward.

But James merely muscled up his shot, and after sinking it, he
sneered and shook his head several times as a reminder that he's
tough to stop.

"He's a strong guy and obviously you have to foul him a little
harder," Pierce said.

The Celtics, though, weren't intimidated and went on a 13-4 run
to get back into it before eventually trailing 58-49 at the break.

Game notes
Snow had a season-high nine assists. ... Celtics G Delonte
West sustained a hip pointer in the third quarter and didn't
return. ... Rivers admired new murals of former Cleveland All-Stars
painted on the walls outside the locker rooms and wondered why
their wasn't a portrait of his uncle, Boston assistant Jim Brewer,
who played for the Cavs in the 1970s. "He should be up there,"
said Rivers, well versed in Cavs' history. Rivers even named his
second son, Austin James, after Cavs great Austin Carr and Brewer.
... Davis played 2½ seasons in Cleveland, where fans abandoned him
after some selfish play and comments. He doesn't mind hearing fans
boo him when he returns. "I like it when they are hard on me," he
said. "It keeps me working." ... Rapper/Rocker Kid Rock sat
courtside in the first half.