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NBA Game Summary - Boston at Cleveland

(Friday, January 9th)

Final Score: Cleveland 98, Boston 83

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James scored 23 of his 38 points in the second half as the Cavaliers remained unbeaten at home with a 98-83 win over Boston, dealing the reeling Celtics their fourth consecutive defeat.

Anderson Varejao added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have won the last 10 meetings (regular season and playoffs) at home against Boston. Cleveland is 28-4 in its last 32 games and is the first team to start a season 19-0 at home since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (37 games) and the 1995-96 Orlando Magic (33 games).

"I think teams know that (the Cavs are an elite team)," said James. "I don't think we needed to win tonight to let teams know that. We were a confident bunch of guys coming into this game and after this game. We just want to continue to play well and protect our home court and we did that once again."

James went 13-of-25 from the field, hit all nine of his foul shots, and also had seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks to help the Cavs push their record to an Eastern Conference-best 29-6.

"We have to continue to protect home court. We want to continue to get better and we got better tonight," said James. "It doesn't matter who the opponent is, you want to try and get better each night. You don't want to take a step back because we have a big picture and a goal. You don't want to waste a game and not get better. We got much better tonight."

Mo Williams had 13 points and Daniel Gibson scored 10 for Cleveland, which has won all its home games this season by at least four points, the first team since the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers (22 games) to accomplish the feat.

Kevin Garnett tallied 18 points and 15 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who lost for the seventh time in nine games. The four-game skid is the longest for Boston since dropping seven straight April 4-15, 2007.

Paul Pierce was limited to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting for Boston, which also received 13 points from Kendrick Perkins and 12 from Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo had 13 assists, but Boston lost for the sixth time in its last seven road contests.

"It is one of those games where momentum is a factor; we were unable to take the crowd out of the game," said Pierce. "We turned the ball over in crucial stages when we cut the lead. We just didn't give ourselves a chance when we were getting back in the game."

It was the second meeting of the season between the teams, who squared off in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics won that opening meeting, the season-opener for both teams, on October 28 in Boston. But on Friday night, James pushed his team to the finish with another solid effort, hustling all over the court and getting the crowd involved.

He even hit a half-court shot with 4 1/2 minutes remaining, but the basket was waived off because Ben Wallace was fouled away from the action. The capacity crowd at Quicken Loans Arena shouted, "MVP! MVP!" all while James pumped his arms in the air, and moments later he drilled two foul shots to widen Cleveland's lead to 90-71.

The Celtics trailed by nine points at the half, but they netted the first five of the third quarter to get within 49-45. Later in the period, James blocked Allen's layup try and hit a leaning jumper at the other end, was fouled and completed the three-point play for a 64-56 advantage.

Three-point jumpers from James and Delonte West widened Cleveland's advantage to 72-60 going into the fourth.

It was highlight reel time for James in the final quarter. He stole a pass from Pierce, spun around Rondo and used his left hand to will the ball in off the glass for an 83-68 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

Garnett was whistled for a technical foul midway through the first quarter, all while the Cavs were building a 19-10 lead. The hosts carried a 33-23 lead into the second.

Game Notes

The Celtics play Toronto Sunday afternoon in the opener of a home-and-home series...Cleveland's next game is Tuesday at Memphis. The Cavs will play six of their next seven contests on the road...Cleveland shot 50.8 percent from the field, compared to 41.8 percent for Boston...The Celtics won the rebounding battle, 42-30.

01/10 01:03:53 ET

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