Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Saturday, December 10th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 4th
Game 3: Saturday, January 7th
Game 4: Monday, February 6th

Bucks 88

(17-14, 8-7 away)

Cavaliers 96

(20-11, 14-4 home)

7:30 PM ET, January 7, 2006

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

1 2 3 4 T
MIL 23 17 25 2388
CLE 16 28 20 3296

Top Performers

Mil: M. Redd 32 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

Cle: L. James 35 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

LeBron shakes off fall, scores 35 as Cavs top Bucks

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James checked to make sure all his body parts were functioning properly, and picked himself up off the floor.

Moments later, the Cleveland Cavaliers were up, too.

James shook off the effects of a hard fall in the foul lane to score 35 points as the Cavaliers rebounded from an awful loss with a 96-88 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

James landed with an echoing thud under the basket on a drive late in the third quarter, but after having his left thigh treated by Cleveland's trainers, the third-year star led a fourth-quarter push that gave the Cavs their ninth win in 11 games.

"It was my whole left side," said James, whose tumble momentarily silenced nearly 20,000 fans inside Quicken Loans Arena. "It went kind of numb for a little bit. So I just laid on the floor and got a little rest."

Drew Gooden added a season-high 17 rebounds and Donyell Marshall scored 14 points, hitting a crucial 3-pointer that put the Cavs ahead 89-80 with 3:05 remaining.

The Cavs were coming off a 90-81 loss on Thursday against Houston when they went just 8-of-18 on free throws and 7-of-29 on 3-pointers. The Cavs weren't much better Saturday, going 17-of-29 from the line and 7-of-24 on 3s, but they did just enough to win their fifth straight at home against Milwaukee while improving to 13-5 against Eastern Conference teams.

"We've been picking up the intensity in conference games," said James, who has scored at least 30 in six straight. "If we would pick it up against other teams, we'd be a lot better off. We've got to learn to do that."

Right now, the Cavaliers are learning to play without Larry Hughes, their second-leading scorer, who will miss at least six weeks following surgery to fix a broken finger. Cleveland is 2-1 so far without him.

Michael Redd scored 30 points to pace the Bucks, who have lost three straight for the first time this season. T.J. Ford came back after missing four games with a foot sprain to add 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Milwaukee.

"I'd hate to say we failed the test, but we did," Redd said. "We were in it, but we just floundered it away."

James, who nearly banged his head on the backboard blocking a shot in the third period, added seven rebounds and six assists. He's averaging 39.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists in three games against Milwaukee this season.

Midway through the third period, James sprinted across the lane and perfectly timed his jump to reject a layup attempt by Mo Williams, sending the ball five rows deep into the stands.

"I could have put it in bounds, but I didn't want to," James said, chuckling.

Cavs reserve guard Mike Wilks played a season-high 26 minutes and most of the fourth quarter as coach Mike Brown chose to keep Damon Jones, who is starting in place of Hughes, on the bench for the entire final period.

After Jones missed two 3s early in the third, some aggravated Cavs fans booed the self-described "best shooter in the world," who is a combined 5-for-28 on 3-pointers in his last six games.

Jones made his next one, and promptly covered his ears with his hands before running back on defense. A few seconds later, Jones shouted, "Boo that!" and as he checked in following a timeout, he said, "Put that in your newspaper, I don't want no more applause."

He stood by his comments after the game.

"I'm still the best shooter in the world," he said. "I'm not going to pass up shots. I've never done that in my life. If you are going to boo, boo. Don't be fair weather. I'd rather not be applauded."

Toni Kukoc came off the bench in the first quarter and drained a 3, the first points for Milwaukee's reserves in two games against the Cavs this week. On Thursday, Milwaukee's backups didn't score, their first dry spell for a full game since Nov. 27, 1970.

Game notes

Jones signed an agreement with Li-Ning, a Chinese athletic shoe and apparel company. "I got billboards all over China," said Jones, only half-joking with reporters before the game. "I got wax sculptures. I'm an icon. I'm global. Who's that global around here, except LeBron James?" The NBA agreed to allow its players to wear and endorse Li-Ning gear last year. ... Cavs F Anderson Varejao, sidelined all season following shoulder surgery, has returned to practice and is expected to rejoin the club by the end of the month -- earlier than expected. ...

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 88 96
FGM-FGA 34-82 (.415) 36-82 (.439)
3PM-3PA 6-22 (.273) 7-24 (.292)
FTM-FTA 14-16 (.875) 17-29 (.586)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-39 15-49
Assists 17 22
Turnovers 11 9
Steals 6 5
Blocks 4 4
Fast Break Points 11 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 17 (2/0)
Largest Lead 9 10

Top Performers

Michael Redd Redd
Points: 32
Reb: 3
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
LeBron James James
Points: 35
Reb: 7
Ast: 6
Stl: 0
Blk: 1