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 James leads Cavaliers past Trail Blazers in OT

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PostSubject: James leads Cavaliers past Trail Blazers in OT   Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:56 pm

CLEVELAND(AP) Despite getting his 24th career
triple-double, LeBron James was more impressed by the Cleveland
Cavaliers tying the NBA record for fewest turnovers.James had 26
points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Cavaliers to a 97-92
overtime victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
Cleveland committed only two turnovers, setting a franchise record and
matching the mark set by Milwaukee against Indiana on April 1, 2006."That's good basketball. We did a good job protecting the ball,'' James said. "It's all about the team.''Cleveland,
won its seventh straight and 10th in the last 11, nearly broke the
record, but Mo Williams' pass while trying to run out the clock hit the
backboard and was picked up by the Trail Blazers.The Cavaliers are 31-1 at home and have a 4 1/2-game lead over Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.James,
who had his seventh triple-double this season, scored six points in the
overtime period. His driving basket in the lane after the Cavaliers won
the jumpball put Cleveland ahead for good. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added a
free throw and a basket, pushing the lead to 91-86 lead with 3:15 left.
James hit two more baskets as the Cavaliers outscored Portland 11-6 in
the extra session.Ilgauskas finished with 21 points.Cleveland, which made just 4-of-21 shots in the first period, couldn't hold an eight-point lead in the fourth."It
was an ugly ballgame, but you've got to win ugly sometimes,'' said
Cleveland coach Mike Brown, who recorded his 200th career victory.James
scored twice late in regulation to give Cleveland an 86-82 lead, but
Brandon Roy, who led Portland with 24 points, hit four free throws in
the final 34 seconds - the last two coming with 3.4 seconds left - to
tie the game.Roy faked James into the air and his foot barely
straddled the 3-point line when contact was made, sending Roy to the
line for the tying free throws."He wasn't going to let me make a
walkoff 3 on him,'' Roy said of James. "As soon as I did my last move,
I went for the pump and he went for it. It's almost like he knew I was
going to shoot a 3 and he was timing it. I got up in the air, and he
did a somewhat good job of going straight up. So I had to lean into him
a little bit. That's when my toe went over the line.''James
missed a running 12-footer and the game went into overtime. Ever the
perfectionist, James found fault with himself for missing the shot."I make those shots all the time,'' he said. "It was just a little short.''LaMarcus
Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, Portland's starting forwards, missed the
game because of injuries. Both players were injured in the fourth
quarter of Wednesday night's 95-85 win over Indiana. Aldridge, the
Trail Blazers' second-leading scorer, suffered a concussion while
Batum, Portland's best perimeter defender, sprained his left ankle.Channing Frye, who scored 14 points, started in Aldridge's spot while Travis Outlaw, who added 17, started for Batum."You've
gotta make plays down the stretch and we didn't do it,'' Portland coach
Nate McMillan said. "They did. They made buckets when they needed to,
they got stops when they needed to.''Greg Oden, who played one
season at Ohio State, had seven points and nine rebounds in 12 minutes
for Portland. He was playing his second game after missing 15 games
with a bone chip in his left knee.Notes: Portland finishes its
trip Saturday at Milwaukee. ... Cavaliers F Anderson Varejao banged his
right leg into Oden in the first quarter and was on the floor for
several minutes. He played the second half with a sleeve on his leg.
... Cavaliers G-F Wally Szczerbiak is out for up to three weeks with a
sprained left knee. ... Cleveland's all-time record for home wins is
37, set in 1988-89. The Cavaliers are two wins shy of their all-time
mark (57) for a season.

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