James had 32 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to help
the Cleveland Cavaliers win their fourth straight game with a
100-87 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
"He looked like the All-Star, the Olympian that he is right
now," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "He got everyone
involved in the first half and took over the game in the second. He
just overpowered us."
So did his teammates, who have taken some of the burden off
their superstar this season. The Cavaliers have started the season
6-2 for the second straight year -- a first for the franchise -- and
own the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland has been dominant, outrebounding its opponents in all
eight games and shooting 48 percent over the winning streak.
The Cavaliers trailed only briefly in the second quarter and led
by as many as 20 late in the third as they easily handled the
injury riddled Trail Blazers, who looked tired after losing Tuesday
night at Minnesota.
James didn't take a shot in the first quarter, then led
Cleveland on a 10-0 run in the third that put Portland away. He
showed his versatility, hitting a running jumper, a three-point
play and a 3-pointer during the run.
Zach Randolph led the Trail Blazers with 26 points and 11
rebounds, but struggled from the line, shooting 12-of-20 (60
percent). He entered the game shooting 89 percent.
"Zach is tough," James said. "We tried to double him, but he
was still getting the ball. Right now, he's playing like an
LaMarcus Aldridge's three-point play made it 89-79 with under
five minutes left, but Cleveland made enough free throws to keep it
from getting any closer.
"That team is just much stronger than we are," McMillan said.
The Cavaliers got a scare when guard Larry Hughes bruised his
right leg and left with 6:20 to play in the second quarter. Hughes
tried to make a steal from Martell Webster and got tangled up going
for the loose ball.
He winced in pain on the floor, but was able to get up and
slowly walk to the locker room. The Cavaliers said that X-rays were
negative and the injury was not considered to be serious.
"The good part about this is that it's not my ankle. I didn't
roll it," said Hughes, adding that he would ice it all night and
reevaluate it Thursday.
Damon Jones scored seven points and was 0-of-5 from 3-point
range. He didn't have the same shooting touch as he did Monday
night when he scored 29 and was 7-of-10 from behind the arc in a
win against the New York Knicks.
The Cavaliers entered shooting 65 percent from the line but
improved on that deficiency, going 28-of-36 (78 percent).
Although James didn't take a shot in the first quarter, he
contributed two assists, including a no-look, crosscourt bounce
pass to Hughes, who scored five points.
Cleveland has won four straight at home against Portland.
... Trail Blazers F Stephen Graham, who was cut by the Cavaliers in
October, got his first start of the season. He finished with four
points. ... Cavaliers rookie G Daniel Gibson made his NBA debut,
recording an assist in two minutes. ... Trail Blazers rookie G
Sergio Rodriguez had eight assists. ... A recorded video of Ohio
State coach Jim Tressel saying, "Make some noise" got one of the
biggest cheers of the night.