tampabay.com

Cavs pull away as James scores 36

The All-Star scored 25 in the second half and Cleveland beat the Nets 102-92 to open a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

By The Associated Press
Published May 9, 2007


CLEVELAND - LeBron James made sure the Cavaliers protected their home turf.

The All-Star scored 25 of his 36 in the second half and Cleveland beat the Nets 102-92 on Tuesday to open a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

With the game tight with five minutes left, James told coach Mike Brown in a timeout that he wanted the ball down the stretch.

"He said he wanted the ball because he was going to win it for us, " Brown said. "I went into the huddle and called one play. That play was to go to LeBron every time."

Sasha Pavlovic scored a career playoff-high 17 for the Cavaliers, who head to New Jersey with a commanding lead.

"It's a joy knowing when it gets down to the fourth quarter, we have the confidence to win, " James said.

The Nets shot well (53 percent) but were outrebounded 49-32. The Cavs kept several possessions alive by outhustling New Jersey.

Vince Carter scored 26 to lead the Nets, but for the second straight game he struggled from the floor. He was 10-for-26 and missed two key shots in the final two minutes.

Richard Jefferson scored 22 and Jason Kidd had 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Nets.

Despite Carter's poor first half (five points on 2-of-10 shooting), the Nets were within 48-45 at the break.

 

NEW JERSEY (92): Jefferson 7-11 7-8 22, Moore 6-8 3-5 15, Collins 1-3 0-0 2, Carter 10-26 4-4 26, Kidd 6-9 1-2 17, Boone 1-1 1-6 3, Nachbar 2-3 0-0 5, C.Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Wright 1-1 0-0 2, Williams 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 34-65 16-25 92.

CLEVELAND (102): James 12-24 9-13 36, Gooden 5-11 0-1 10, Ilgauskas 4-8 5-7 13, Pavlovic 7-13 2-4 17, Hughes 4-14 3-6 12, Varejao 3-4 0-0 6, Snow 1-3 0-0 2, Marshall 1-3 1-2 3, Gibson 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 38-85 20-33 102.

New Jersey 28 17 28 19 - 92

Cleveland 24 24 26 28 - 102

3-Point Goals-New Jersey 8-14 (Kidd 4-6, Carter 2-3, Nachbar 1-2, Jefferson 1-3), Cleveland 6-23 (James 3-7, Gibson 1-4, Pavlovic 1-5, Hughes 1-6, Marshall 0-1). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-New Jersey 40 (Kidd 10), Cleveland 60 (Gooden 14). Assists-New Jersey 22 (Kidd 8), Cleveland 19 (James 12). Total Fouls-New Jersey 25, Cleveland 20. Technicals-New Jersey Defensive Three Second, Cleveland Defensive Three Second. A-20, 562. (20, 562).

 

Suns 101, Spurs 81

PHOENIX - The Suns squared their Western Conference semifinal series with a bandage on Steve Nash's nose and a second big man in the starting lineup.

With most of the crowd wearing nose bandages in honor of Nash, the Suns blew out the Spurs to even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.

Amare Stoudemire scored 21 of his 27 in the second half for Phoenix. Nash, who cut his nose during Game 1, had 20 points and 16 assists as the Suns beat the Spurs in a playoff game in Phoenix for the first time in five games dating to 2005.

Tim Duncan scored 29 despite foul trouble for San Antonio, but got little help from his teammates.

Coach Mike D'Antoni's decision to start Kurt Thomas and have him defend Duncan freed up Stoudemire to concentrate on offense. As a result, Stoudemire had plenty of energy to counter Duncan's one-man show in the third quarter.

Stoudemire and Duncan each scored 15 in the quarter, but Duncan drew his fourth foul and left with 2:56 to play.

Thomas scored 12 on 6-of-7 shooting in 28 minutes.

After scoring 32 in Game 1, the Spurs' Tony Parker scored 13 on 5-of-14 shooting.

Nash, asked a tongue-in-cheek question afterward about what led to his bandaged nose, responded with a smile, "Can't remember."

ALL-ROOKIE TEAM: Blazers guard Brandon Roy was a unanimous choice with 58 points. He was followed by the Raptors' Andrea Bargnani (57), the Timberwolves' Randy Foye (48), the Grizzlies' Rudy Gay (39) and the Raptors' Jorge Garbajosa and Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge (both 37).

 

Cavs102

Nets92