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Published: Thursday, 1/22/2009

James, Williams lead Cavs over Blazers

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Cavaliers' LeBron James is defended by the Trail Blazers' Brandon Roy last night in Portland, Ore James had 34 points as the Cavaliers beat the Trail Blazers 104-98. The Cavaliers' LeBron James is defended by the Trail Blazers' Brandon Roy last night in Portland, Ore James had 34 points as the Cavaliers beat the Trail Blazers 104-98.
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PORTLAND, Ore. The road was a bit smoother for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Portland.

After losing four of their past five road games, the Cavaliers held off the Trail Blazers 104-98 on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.

LeBron James had 34 points and 14 assists, while Mo Williams added a season-high 33 points, including a career-high six 3-pointers. Cleveland made 11 of 19 3-point attempts in shooting 52.6 percent (41-of-78) from the field.

Coming off a loss at the Lakers, James said the Cavaliers have become adept at recouping.

One thing I m very excited about is the way we bounce back after a loss. We never let one game hang over our heads where we lose two or three. We always bounce back, James said. We hate to lose.

Brandon Roy had 23 points for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 and reserve center Joel Przybilla had 15 rebounds.

Cleveland, which led by 11 points in the first half, took a 68-59 lead when James hit two consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter.

But Portland went ahead 82-81 midway through the fourth quarter on Roy s layup and free throw. Ben Wallace got the lead back for the Cavaliers with a put-back, and James hit a 3-pointer.

The Blazers stayed close, pulling within 92-88 on Greg Oden s pair of free throws.

But James hit another 3-pointer, and after Roy hit two foul shots but missed a key layup, Williams added another 3 to put Cleveland ahead 98-90 with 48.9 seconds left.

While the Cavaliers remain the league s only unbeaten team at home, the road has not been so kind. The latest loss came Monday at the Lakers, 105-88.

Every guy on this team knows we re fighting for a championship. We gotta go out there every night and approach it that way, James said. We can t afford to take a night off. We want to get better every night because we re fighting for something really big down the road.

Oden had 10 points and eight rebounds, short of the success he had Monday in Portland s 102-85 victory over Milwaukee when he had a season-high 24 points and 15 rebounds.

Oden got into foul trouble, collecting five by early in the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers continued to play without starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was still nursing a sore left ankle but was expected back in about a week. The Cavaliers played 6-foot-11 Anderson Varejao at center.

The Blazers were without starting point guard Steve Blake, who injured his right shoulder last week. Sergio Rodriguez has started the past four games in his place.

We just waited too long to get going. Maybe we were in awe of LeBron. I m not sure what it was, Przybilla said. We need to believe we re one of the best teams in the league and we can play with anybody.

Wally Szczerbiak hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter to put the Cavaliers up 28-23, but Nicolas Batum hit a jumper at the end of the period to narrow it to 28-25.

Rudy Fernandez s 3-pointer tied it, and the Blazers went ahead on Travis Outlaw s short jumper.

Portland s lead didn t last long, and Cleveland pulled back ahead 35-34 on Varejao s layup midway though the quarter.

The Cavaliers went on a 15-6 run to take a 53-42 lead before Outlaw wrapped up the half with a 3-pointer.

Williams had 18 points for Cleveland in the first half. James, who had 12 points in the first half, added 14 in the third quarter, including his two key 3-pointers.

When you re opposing players like LeBron James and Mo Williams, especially at their best, you ve got to be more aggressive, Portland coach Nate McMillan said.



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