NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at New Orleans
(Wednesday, March 24th)
Final Score: Cleveland 105, New Orleans 92
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - LeBron James scored 38 points on 15-of-22 shooting and added nine assists, as Cleveland took a 105-92 road victory from New Orleans.
J.J. Hickson contributed 20 points and nine rebounds, while Delonte West chipped in 15 points for the Cavaliers, whose magic number to clinch the Eastern Conference is at four following Orlando's loss to the Hawks Wednesday.
Antawn Jamison kicked in 11 points and as many boards as Cleveland extended its winning streak to eight games and NBA-best road record to 26-11.
"They did a good job, they had a guy in front of me but I was able to get comfortable," James said. "I took some difficult shots and made them and got into a flow where I felt I could make any shot on the court."
Rookies Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison had 20 and 17 points, respectively, for New Orleans, which won the opener of its five-game homestand in convincing fashion Monday against Dallas as Chris Paul returned from a 25- game absence.
Paul struggled in his second game back from a torn meniscus in his left knee, making 2-of-8 shots for five points while handing out seven assists.
David West notched 16 points in the loss, the Hornets' 11th in the last 14 games.
James put in 20 and West came off the bench to score 13 in the first half as Cleveland built a 52-48 lead at the break behind a 56.1-percent showing from the floor.
The Cavs never took their foot off the gas and assumed control with a 20-7 run late in the third that yielded an 81-64 advantage. Jamison and Mo Williams started things out with back-to-back threes and Hickson came up with nine points during the surge, ending on a Williams deuce with 2 1/2 minutes left.
Cleveland moved to the final period holding a 16-point lead, 87-71, and consecutive jumpers by James had the margin at 96-79 with under seven minutes to play.
James later scored 10 straight for the Cavs with the clock winding toward the final two minutes. A turnaround bank shot capped the stretch and gave the visitors a 102-88 lead with 2:11 remaining.
"We kept it close and played well in the first two quarters. Then they began to chip away," Hornets head coach Jeff Bower said. "We missed some key shots and had a few turnovers that really hurt us. They got the momentum going in the fourth quarter and it was more than we could overcome. We just have to re- group and get ready for Portland."
Wednesday also marked the return of longtime center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Cavs lineup. The Lithuanian 11-year vet was dealt to Washington last month as part of the Jamison deal and was promptly released by the Wizards after a buyout was struck. He had three rebounds and a point in a little over 17 minutes in his first game since re-signing with Cleveland on Tuesday...The Cavs snapped a three-game skid as the road team in this series...The Hornets fell to 22-13 at New Orleans Arena and will also be playing host to the Blazers, Lakers and Wizards on their homestand...Williams had eight points and seven assists for Cleveland...Darius Songaila posted 11 points off the bench for New Orleans.
03/24 23:45:38 ET