CLEVELAND, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- Carlos Boozer
monster game to help the Cleveland Cavaliers overcome the
absence of LeBron James
and Zydrunas Ilgauskas
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Boozer matched a career high with 32 points and grabbed 20
rebounds as the Cavaliers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics,
99-94, for their third win in four games.
It's a big-time win," Boozer said. "We didn't have Z and we
didn't have LeBron. Those are two big-time players of our
offense and defense. Everybody came and stepped up tonight and
made big contributions to the win."
A second-year forward, Boozer collected 32 points and 18 boards
in Saturday's overtime triumph at Utah. He was slightly better
in this one as Cleveland was without its top two scorers.
"I've just been playing hard," Boozer said. "I've been getting
the opportunity and just taking advantage of it. I've been
playing off my teammates. I can't really take any credit for
it, I'm just playing hard."
James sat out with a sprained right ankle while Ilgauskas served
a one-game suspension for throwing a punch against the Jazz.
got the start for James and had just five points but
played solid defense on Seattle leading scorer Ray Allen
picked up some of the offensive slack in the
backcourt, scoring eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
replaced Ilgauskas and contributed 17 points and 10
rebounds as the Cavaliers snapped an eight-game home losing
streak against Seattle.
"When (we're shorthanded), everybody just has to get mentally
prepared to play and play hard," Boozer said. "Juanny (Wagner)
came in and got a lot of points for us, and so did Tony Battie."
led Seattle with 27 points and Ray Allen
but made just 9-of-25 shots. Vladimir Radmanovic
points for the SuperSonics, who were swept in the season series.
"Kevin Ollie did the job the team needed, I thought, more than
anything," Allen said. "Down the stretch, they put him on me
and they put Darius Miles
, a big body, so every shot I took was
a tough shot. I got to do a better job."
Lewis converted a three-point play with 24 seconds left to get
Seattle within 95-94. But Boozer made four free throws down the
stretch to cap the scoring.
"The difference between winning and losing tonight was we got
killed on the glass," Lewis said. "We didn't box or rebound and
Boozer pretty much did what he wanted when he wanted and pretty
much had his way tonight."
Cleveland punished Seattle on the boards 55-35 and showed
little respect for the Sonics' frontcourt, attacking the paint
at will. As a result, the Cavaliers made a season-high 38-of-42
free throws, with Boozer going 14-of-15 from the line.
The Cavaliers opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to build
a 63-56 lead with 5:29 left. But Seattle closed the quarter
with a 15-8 spurt to forge a 71-71 tie.
The lead changed hands several times in the fourth quarter.