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Boozer's 32 points, 20 rebounds lead Cavs

1/21/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Carlos Boozer provided the short-handed
Cavaliers points, rebounds and assists. But more importantly,
Boozer gave them heart -- and a win.

Who says LeBron James is all alone in Cleveland?

Boozer matched a career-high with 32 points and added 20
rebounds as Cleveland survived its first game without James,
beating the Seattle SuperSonics 99-94 Tuesday night.

Boozer picked up the slack for the Cavaliers, who were missing
their top two scorers -- James (sprained ankle) and center Zydrunas
Ilgauskas (suspension) -- as they swept the season series with
Seattle for the first time.

"To win without 'Z' and LeBron gives everybody confidence,"
said Boozer, only the fifth Cleveland player to record at least 30
points and 20 rebounds in a game. "Those two are a huge part of
our offense, but other guys stepped up."

Nobody more than Boozer, who has 64 points and 38 rebounds in
his past two games.

"He was a monster in there," Cleveland coach Paul Silas said.
"He was totally focused."

Tony Battie added 17 points, Dajuan Wagner had 14 and Kevin
Ollie hit two big free throws down the stretch for the Cavs, who
went 38-of-42 from the line and beat the Sonics for the first time
in nine tries at Gund Arena.

The victory was the 300th for Silas, making him the 46th NBA
coach to reach that plateau.

"It's great to be the team that got him No. 300," Boozer said
of his coach, who grabbed a TV microphone and playfully grilled the
second-year forward with questions in the locker room. "Let's move
on and get him 400. Well, let's look at 350 first."

Rashard Lewis had 27 points and Ray Allen 20 for the Sonics, who
pulled even at 91-91 on Vladimir Radmanovic's 3-pointer -- his
second in a row -- with 2:17 left.

Darius Miles, who skipped Cleveland's practice when he overslept
on Monday, soared down the baseline to dunk a miss by Battie, and
after Lewis misfired on a 3, Ollie made his two free throws to put
the Cavs up 95-91 with 27 seconds to play.

Lewis converted a three-point play as the Sonics crept back
within one, but Boozer, who was coming off a 32-point, 18-rebound
performance in a win at Utah, made four straight foul shots in the
final 21.3 seconds to ice it.

"This was a big time win," said Boozer. "Everybody stepped
up. I'm not trying to downplay what I did, but I'm not playing it
up, either."

Allen shot 9-of-25, missing badly on his final four attempts in
the last 2:22.

Seattle coach Nate McMillan was disappointed with his team's
effort. The Sonics were outrebounded 55-35, and the Cavs had 24
offensive boards.

"The Cavaliers were the aggressors," he said. "They
controlled this game, and felt they could pound the boards, and
they did."

Before grabbing a seat on Cleveland's bench, James said he would
take his time and not rush coming back to play until his right
ankle was 100 percent.

"It's a long season and I've got a long career," said James,
who has not run on his ankle as yet and was limping as he walked
back and forth to the Cavs' locker room.

Lewis, who scored 14 points in the second quarter, hit a
3-pointer to close a 14-0 run that gave the Sonics a 43-30 lead
midway through the period.

The Cavs failed to score on nine straight possessions and
appeared on the verge of getting run off the floor before
responding with a 12-0 spurt to pull to 52-50 at halftime.

Boozer tipped in a miss from near the foul line in the burst
that was capped by consecutive 3-pointers by Kedrick Brown.

Game notes
Boozer is the first Cav since Shawn Kemp (1998) to have a
30-point, 20-rebound game. ... The Cavs, who won just 17 games a
year ago, are 14-27 at the halfway point. They were 8-33 after 41
games last season. ... Cleveland is now 8-9 since a six-player
trade with Boston. ... James said he had never missed a game
because of injury. He broke his left wrist during a summer league
game in Chicago before his senior year in high school. ...
Seattle's halftime lead was its first in eight games since Jan. 7.
... Miles, who played 17 minutes, insisted his unexcused absence
had nothing to do with a recent lack of playing time. "I never
missed a practice before," said Miles, whose name continues to
surface in trade rumors. "I'm happy here. I'm enjoying myself."