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Published: Thursday, 12/11/2008

Cavaliers cruise to 10th successive win

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cavaliers star LeBron James soars over 76ers center Samuel Dalembert on his way to the basket last night in Philadelphia. Cavaliers star LeBron James soars over 76ers center Samuel Dalembert on his way to the basket last night in Philadelphia.
TOM MIHALEK / AP Enlarge

PHILADELPHIA LeBron James had to sweat out the fourth quarter for once.

The result was still the same: another Cleveland victory.

James scored 29 points, Mo Williams added a season-high 27 and the Cavaliers cruised to their 10th consecutive victory, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 101-93 last night.

This one, you had to earn, James said.

James hadn t had to sweat late too much over the last nine games, as the Cavaliers have won by a whopping average of 21.6 points.

James who didn t play in the fourth quarter in six of the last seven games was needed in the final quarter this time.

Anderson Varejao added 15 points, and Ben Wallace had 10 rebounds for the Central Division-leading Cavaliers, 18-1 in their last 19 games, 19-3 overall and 7-3 on the road.

They are one win shy of tying the franchise record of 11 straight wins set during the 1988-89 season.

James said he hadn t paid too much attention to the streak.

I had to ask somebody a couple of games ago how long the streak was, he said.

The Cavaliers played without guard Daniel Gibson, who will miss at least two weeks because of a toe injury, the team s first significant setback of the season.

The second may have come against the 76ers. Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas limped to the locker room with 9:39 left in the fourth with a sprained left ankle. He did not return.

X-rays were negative.

A foot came down on me, Ilgauskas said. We think its a sprain. I ll see the doctor.

Gibson sprained his left big toe in the second quarter Tuesday night against Toronto.

He didn t travel to Cleveland s game in Philadelphia, staying back to be examined by Dr. Jim Sferra at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health and to undergo an MRI and X-rays.

The team said he didn t provide results of those tests.

Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 27 points for the 76ers.

Andre Miller added 22, and Lou Williams had 13 of his season-high 22 in the fourth for Philadelphia.

The 76ers have dropped two straight and seven of nine to fall to 9-13.

Elton Brand returned from a two-game absence with a strained right hamstring and had 10 rebounds for Philadelphia, which also has lost five consecutive home games.

I m not at 100 percent, but you do what you can to help the team win, said Brand, who had six points on 3-for-11 shooting.

A larger-than-usual crowd of 15,550, many of whom wore Cavaliers attire with James No. 23, watched Cleveland build a 21-point advantage at 84-63 on a layup by Delonte West with 4 seconds left in the third quarter.

Cleveland began the third with an 18-3 run to take a 66-49 lead. During the spurt, the Sixers missed 12 of their 14 field goals.

It wasn t the offense, Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. It was our defense.

The Cavaliers built an 84-65 lead after the third quarter.

When the buzzer sounded, a large number of fans booed the Sixers as they headed back to their bench.

The boos continued throughout the fourth as the Cavaliers steadily maintained a comfortable lead.

Philadelphia did stage a late rally to get within 95-89 on two free throws by Miller with two minutes remaining.

It wasn t quite enough, Iguodala said. The third quarter killed us.

Williams responded with a baseline jumper and Wallace slammed home a James miss for a commanding 99-89 lead.

The Cavaliers trailed by as many as six points early but rallied for a 48-46 lead at halftime. James and Williams shot a combined 13-of-17 in the first half.



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