NBA Game Summary - Toronto at Cleveland
(Saturday, December 4th)
Final Score: Cleveland 105, Toronto 97
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Drew Gooden and LeBron James each scored 27 points to lead Cleveland to a 105-97 win over Toronto at Gund Arena.
Gooden pulled down 15 rebounds and James added 10 assists for the Cavaliers, who have won five of their last six games and are in sole possession of first place for the first time since December 19, 2000. Zydrunas Ilgauskas finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Toronto's Rafer Alston, who was benched along with Loren Woods in the second half of Friday's loss to Boston for picking up pivotal technical fouls, finished with 20 points and 10 assists.
"What happened last night was unfortunate, but it happened, it's over," said Toronto head coach Sam Mitchell. "I talked to Rafer yesterday and he still has got me on his Christmas list. I don't have him on mine because he makes a lot more money than I do."
The Raptors, losers of three straight, were without forward Vince Carter due to a bout with food poisoning. Matt Bonner scored a career-high 17 points.
Midway through the third quarter, Toronto got within 61-59 on a layup by Alston.
But Cleveland quickly posted six straight points, capped by a Gooden dunk, to regain a 67-59 edge. It led 82-74 at the end of the third.
Gooden hit three foul shots early in the fourth quarter to put the Cavaliers ahead 85-74.
A running layup by Alston pulled Toronto within 91-90 with 3:40 left.
But Cleveland reeled off eight straight points to pull away. Gooden's layup 36 seconds later sparked the decisive burst and James' emphatic dunk over Chris Bosh seemingly took the win out of Toronto's sails.
"The slam took the life out of them," Gooden said. "From that point on, they played with a lot less energy and effort."
The Raptors got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Cleveland went ahead 12-2 on a hook shot by Gooden 3:20 into the game.
Woods hit two free throws to pull Toronto within 22-14 with less than five minutes to go in the first quarter.
However, the Cavaliers ended the first with a 15-4 run. James accounted for seven points, and Jeff McInnis capped the flurry with a three-pointer at the buzzer to open a 39-18 edge at the end of the quarter.
Ilgauskas posted four straight points early in the second quarter to stake Cleveland to a 45-22 lead.
The Raptors responded with a 24-10 flurry. Alston made two foul shots with 1:42 remaining in the second to make it 55-46. They trailed 57-48 at halftime.
McInnis contributed 10 points and nine assists for the Cavaliers, who have won two of the last five meetings in the series...Donyell Marshall added 16 points and seven boards off the bench for the Raptors, who have lost four of their last 11 trips to Cleveland...Woods left the game with a dislocated ring finger on his right hand.
12/05 01:57:12 ET