|James scores 33 points as Cavaliers beat Nets 104-93, keeping firm hold of 4th place in East|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 09 April 2008 23:15|
After resting for two days because of back spasms, James scored 33 points to rally the Cleveland Cavaliers from a 14-point deficit to beat the New Jersey Nets 104-83 Wednesday night.
The NBA's leading scorer moved stiffly at times during his 35 minutes on the floor, though he shot 11-for-21 from the field, made 10-of-13 from the line, grabbed seven rebounds and had eight assists. All the more impressive since he didn't practice Monday and Tuesday and a decision whether he would play against the Nets wasn't made until Wednesday morning.
``I'm going to do what I have to do to help us win,'' he said. ``I didn't feel 100 percent, but I felt I could do everything in my arsenal that needs to be done for us to win.''
It was enough to keep the Cavaliers two games ahead of fifth-place Washington for home-court advantage in the first round, with Philadelphia another game back and Toronto a game behind the 76ers. All four teams won at home as they jockey for seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Wizards beat Boston 109-95 to win the season series over the league's top team; Philadelphia edged Detroit 101-94; and Toronto cruised past Milwaukee 111-93 to snap a three-game losing streak.
In the other games Wednesday night, it was: Orlando 115, Chicago 83; New York 109, Charlotte 107; New Orleans 122, Minnesota 90; Houston 103, Seattle 80; and Phoenix 96, San Antonio 79.
At Cleveland, the win came at an opportune time for the Cavaliers, who had lost six of eight coming in - including two straight at home.
For much of the game it looked like Cleveland's troubles would continue. The Nets led 67-53 midway through the third period before the Cavaliers went on a 23-7 run, which saw James score eight points.
Cleveland led 76-74 going into the fourth quarter. Bostjan Nachbar's 3-pointer to begin the period gave New Jersey a one-point lead, but that would be New Jersey's last field goal of the game. The Nets went scoreless on 10 straight possessions and didn't score again until Vince Carter's two free throws with 4:36 left pulled them to 87-79.
New Jersey was 1-of-20 from the field and scored nine points in the fourth.
At Washington, Antawn Jamison returned after missing two games with a shoulder injury to score 27 points as the Wizards ended Boston's seven-game winning streak and became only the second team to win the season series against the Celtics.
``It says a lot to beat them three games to one throughout the regular season,'' Jamison said. ``It gives us the confidence to know that we can match up with them. We're taking their best shot.''
Gilbert Arenas, in his third game back after a 66-game absence due to knee surgery, added 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting in a relatively low-key 24 minutes.
At Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala scored 25 points, hitting a season-high four 3-pointers, and Samuel Dalembert added 20 points and 13 rebounds for the 76ers. Willie Green scored 15 and Lou Williams had 12 points and seven assists off the bench.
Having locked up the No. 2 seed in the East, the Pistons once again gave their reserves significant minutes.
Philadelphia snapped a five-game home losing streak to Detroit and split the season series. Winners of 22 of their past 30, the Sixers need to split their final four games to ensure their first winning season since 2004-05.
At Toronto, Chris Bosh had 32 points and 11 rebounds, Anthony Parker added 18 points and the Raptors ended a three-game losing streak.
Fans booed the Raptors, who are in the playoffs despite losing 15 of their previous 21 games, after their last home loss and didn't make much noise Wednesday night.
``We needed a win,'' Toronto's Jose Calderon said. ``Everybody has a little more confidence. We have to take it one at a time, step by step. We have four games left. We're going to be all right.''
Hornets 122, Timberwolves 90
Chris Paul had 19 points and 16 assists to help visiting New Orleans bounce back from an ugly loss at Utah the previous night. Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points and David West had 22 for the Hornets.
Rashad McCants had 23 for the Timberwolves, who have lost six straight. Randy Foye scored 20 points for Minnesota.
Magic 115, Bulls 83
Dwight Howard had 30 points and 14 rebounds for host Orlando. Howard had his NBA-leading 67th-double-double, one short of Shaquille O'Neal's franchise record set in 1992-93.
Kirk Hinrich led Chicago with 19 points, while Ben Gordon and Aaron Gray each scored 13.
Knicks 109, Bobcats 107
Fred Jones made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:47 left and host New York tied a season high with its third straight win. Jamal Crawford scored 18 points for the Knicks, who avoided the first 60-loss season in franchise history.
Jason Richardson scored 25 points, and Raymond Felton and Emeka Okafor had 24 apiece for the Bobcats.
Rockets 103, SuperSonics 80
Rafer Alston scored 18 points and Luis Scola added 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead Houston.
Tracy McGrady sat out with a sore left shoulder that's bothered him for more than a week, but the Rockets didn't miss him against the Sonics, who've lost 11 straight road games and 18 of their past 20 games overall.
Kevin Durant scored 26, Nick Collison had 15 rebounds and Earl Watson added 16 points and eight assists for Seattle.
Suns 96, Spurs 79
Amare Stoudemire scored 21 points and five other Phoenix players scored in double digits as the visiting Suns won their second game in a row and remained in sixth place in the Western Conference.
Shaquille O'Neal had eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed nine rebounds for Phoenix.
Tim Duncan scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds for the Spurs, and Tony Parker added 20 points.