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 LeBron has easy night, Cavaliers rout Bobcats

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PostSubject: LeBron has easy night, Cavaliers rout Bobcats   Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:53 pm

CLEVELAND(AP) LeBron James and a few of his
teammates hung around after their postgame showers and watched the
final minutes of Boston's game against Houston on TV.They'll see the Celtics in person soon enough.The NBA champions are coming. The Cavaliers are ready.James
scored 21 points before grabbing an early seat on the bench, Mo
Williams added 15 and Cleveland warmed up for its highly anticipated
matchup with Boston by blowing out the Charlotte Bobcats 111-81 on
Wednesday night, raising the Cavaliers' record at home to 18-0.19-0 isn't a given.On
Friday, the Celtics will arrive for a game pitting the Eastern
Conference's premier powers, a rematch of last season's heated
seven-game conference semifinal and a possible tease of what could come
this spring. Boston holds a 1-0 edge this season after beating
Cleveland 90-85 at home in its opener, when the green-and-white raised
their 17th title banner beforehand as the Cavs waited in their locker
room."They got us up there,'' Williams said. "It's our turn. It's payback time.''It's only January, but it will feel like June."I
can't sit here and say it's another game,'' James said. "We're just
looking forward to the challenge. If we want to be the best team, we
have to beat the best. Boston is the best until somebody takes their
crown.''The Celtics (29-Cool have slipped since opening the season
27-2, and their 89-85 loss to the Rockets on Tuesday night was their
sixth in eight games.But James, who rested the entire fourth quarter against Charlotte, expects Boston to bounce back soon."It's
not the end of the world they've lost a few. They'll get it together,''
he said. "I bet they won't come in here on Friday sluggish.''As
he watched the Celtics lose, James gave a running commentary. He smiled
at a rebound and putback inside by Yao Ming and questioned a long shot
by Rafer Alston."What are you doing?'' James moaned.Daniel
"Boobie'' Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak scored 15 apiece and Anderson
Varejao 14 as Cleveland shot 60 percent from the floor and improved to
28-6.Raymond Felton led Charlotte with 15 points and Gerald
Wallace had 14 for the Bobcats, who went 0-3 against the Cavs this
season losing by an average of 22 points per game."We never
competed a lick,'' coach Larry Brown said. "There's some players that
some of our guys play against they don't think they have a chance. If
you look at our history, maybe that's why you don't win. You don't
expect to win. The first minute of the game, you look out there and
feel like you've got no chance. It's disappointing.''It was
James' first game since he was whistled for traveling in the closing
seconds of a loss on Sunday in Washington. James contests that his
"crab dribble'' move is legal despite the fact that he took at least
two steps after he stopped dribbling. There was nothing to debate or
overanalyze frame by frame as he and the Cavs made easy work of
Charlotte.The Bobcats beat the Celtics 114-106 in overtime on
Tuesday, but there was no time to celebrate as they had to board a
plane and take on the just-as-tough Cavaliers."Playing Boston and then playing against Cleveland, it's like playing in the Big East,'' joked Brown.The
Cavs made Charlotte look rather collegiate from the start, racing to a
12-point lead in the opening minutes as James drove to the basket at
will.Brown wasn't sure who would guard James."We'll probably draw straws,'' he cracked.Wallace
pulled the short one and couldn't contain James, who scored 15 points
on 7-of-10 shooting in the first quarter. Cleveland's All-Star ended
the period by hitting an off-balance, 22-foot jumper at the horn to
give the Cavaliers a 29-12 lead."They played harder, they played
better, they wanted to win more,'' Brown said. "The first play of the
game, the game was over in my mind. LeBron just dribbled in and laid it
up like nobody was guarding him.''With James on the bench,
Cleveland blitzed the Bobcats with a 14-2 spurt to open the second and
pushed the lead to 43-14. The Cavs were still up by 22 by the time
James checked back in with seven minutes left in the half.Notes:
The Cavs were sure to end the night with no worse than a share of the
league's best record. It's the first time they've had that distinction
since 1989. ... Cleveland is 6-0 after a loss with all six wins by
double digits. ... Mocking James' celebrated walk in Washington, two
fans came dressed as crabs and held up a sign that said: "Free The
Crab.'' ... Bobcats F Juwan Howard was ejected in the closing seconds
of the first half for arguing - from the bench - by referee Michael
Smith. Howard played just four minutes. ... The Cavaliers waived F
Jawad Williams, who appeared in three games this season. ... Bobcats G
Raja Bell missed his fifth straight game with a strained left groin.
... James was diplomatic when asked about Cleveland's new uniforms,
blue jerseys and blue shorts trimmed in wine and gold. "They're
colorful,'' he said.

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