Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/9

Game 1: Friday, December 9th
Nets109Final
Cavaliers100
Game 2: Tuesday, December 27th
Cavaliers91Final
Nets96
Game 3: Wednesday, February 1st
Nets85Final
Cavaliers91
Game 4: Saturday, April 8th
Cavaliers108Final
Nets102

Nets 85

(23-21, 10-15 away)

Cavaliers 91

(27-17, 17-5 home)

Coverage: FSOH

7:00 PM ET, February 1, 2006

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

1 2 3 4 T
NJ 15 20 27 2385
CLE 17 17 28 2991

Top Performers

New Jersey: V. Carter 29 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Cleveland: L. James 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs' seventh straight win

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James found a round number more impressive than his latest triple-double.

"We're now 10 games over .500," James said. "The last time we were nine games over, we got beat by the Knicks. I wasn't going to let that happen again. That started all the problems we had."

Consider them solved.

James capped his seventh career triple-double when he rushed Jason Kidd into missing a layup in the final minute as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their seventh straight, 91-85 over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

James scored 26 points -- 22 in the second half -- and added 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Cavaliers moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since Feb. 23, 2005.

They did it thanks to another marvelous performance by James, their hard-nosed defense and by outworking the Nets, who snapped Detroit's 11-game winning streak on Tuesday.

But James, who averaged 32.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists in January, began February with his third triple-double this season and helped Cleveland end a five-game skid against New Jersey.

"This was big for us," James said. "The guys stepped up. We couldn't go 0-3 against them. They might be a team we face in the playoffs. So we can't let them think they can come in here and beat us."

Drew Gooden had 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Sasha Pavlovic added 14 points, including seven in the final 2:57, as the Cavs closed it out.

Vince Carter had 29 points, Richard Jefferson 19 and Kidd 14 after shooting just 4-of-15 for the Nets.

"We missed a lot of shots that we usually make," said Carter, who was hounded by guard Eric Snow. "I know I missed two open jump shots."

Although the Nets shot only 38 percent, they were still within 85-81 when Kidd made a steal near midcourt and headed up the floor for a possible layup. But James caught up to the All-Star guard and crowded him under the basket without making much contact as Kidd's shot was short.

James tipped out the miss and ran down his 10th rebound in the corner.

"I knew what J. Kidd was going to try and do," James said. "He was going to try and stop short on me and draw the foul. I've seen him do that to a lot of guys, so I shaded away, he missed and I got the rebound."

Kidd said he tried to lure James into a foul.

"I got a little contact, but I didn't get enough," Kidd said. "When I went to shoot, I lost my concentration."

James, who has struggled from the free-throw line lately, made four straight in the final 29 seconds as the Cavaliers improved to 17-5 at home.

Unable to take over like he has done so often lately, James stumbled across the foul lane but was able to flip in a 10-footer while being fouled. His free throw put Cleveland ahead 79-75 with 4:15 left.

James made one free throw and picked up assist No. 10 when he fed Pavlovic for a 3-pointer that gave Cleveland an 83-76 lead with 2:57 to play. Pavlovic, whose insertion into the starting lineup has coincided with the Cavs' win streak, hit another jumper and added two free throws with 44 seconds to go.

Pavlovic, who guarded both Carter and Kidd in stretches, is playing more while guard Larry Hughes recovers from finger surgery.

"Sasha hit some big shots for us down the stretch," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "I was really impressed with the way he hung in there defensively."

Cavs forward Ira Newble remained hospitalized with what the team is calling a facial abscess. Newble, who missed 23 games earlier this season with plantar fasciitis, was sidelined for Monday's game in Charlotte with a migraine headache before he was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday.

Perhaps tired following their win over the Pistons, the Nets shot 25 percent from the floor in the first quarter. It was a ragged first 12 minutes for both clubs, who were equally inept in a sloppy second period which ended with New Jersey leading 35-34.

Game notes


It's a tough back-to-back for the Cavaliers, who play at Miami on Thursday in a national TV game. ... Cavs guard Damon Jones, a journeyman who spent last season with Miami, is eager to see how he'll be received by Heat fans in his first game there since leaving as a free agent last summer. "I'm not even nervous about the game, just the fan reaction," said Jones, who described his one year in South Florida as "the best of my 29 years." Jones, too, would like to meet with Heat coach Pat Riley, who was angered by comments Jones made earlier this season after Stan Van Gundy quit as Miami's coach. "Hopefully, we can go back to being bestest buds," Jones said. ... Next Tuesday, Hughes will have a better idea how long he'll be out. "We'll see what the doctor says," said Hughes, who hasn't played since Dec. 31. He was initially expected to miss at least eight weeks.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NJ
CLE
Points 85 91
FGM-FGA 29-77 (.377) 32-70 (.457)
3PM-3PA 6-16 (.375) 4-18 (.222)
FTM-FTA 21-28 (.750) 23-29 (.793)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 3-33 6-51
Assists 17 18
Turnovers 7 17
Steals 10 6
Blocks 2 9
Fast Break Points 12 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 20 (1/0)
Largest Lead 5 8

Top Performers

New Jersey
Cleveland
Vince Carter Carter
Points: 29
Reb: 4
Ast: 5
Stl: 3
Blk: 1
LeBron James James
Points: 26
Reb: 11
Ast: 10
Stl: 1
Blk: 1