CLEVELAND, Nov. 24 (Ticker) --
With last Friday's
incident in Detroit still on the minds of many, LeBron James
gave basketball fans much to feel good
James scored a career-high 43 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers
posted a 92-76 victory over the Pistons, who dropped under .500
for the first time since last season's opener.
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The second-year teenage superstar surpassed his previous best of
41 points against New Jersey last season, which he capped with
the Rookie of the Year Award.
"Tonight, (James) was as good as I have seen," Cleveland coach
Paul Silas said. "I don't think I've seen too many players any
James was spectacular throughout, making 15-of-22 shots. He also
handed out five assists and grabbed six rebounds.
"It's as good a performance as I've seen, and, for a young kid
to not go on his own in a circumstance like that, it's good,"
Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "And our league needs something
like this after what happened on Friday."
During pregame warmups, a Cavaliers fans walked down to the
courtside seats wearing boxing gloves, a reference to Friday's
incident. He was asked to remove the gloves but was allowed
to stay in the area.
James took the fight out of the Pistons (5-6) early, scoring 14
points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first quarter. The Cavaliers
opened a 24-17 lead they never relinquished.
) had a bad back, so I had to step my game
up," James said. "I was just feeling it, and anytime I feel like
that, I can do a lot of things."
Ilgauskas, who came in averaging 18.9 points per game, was
slowed by back spasms and finished with just six points in 30
"He (James) did it in every way," Cavaliers guard Eric Snow
said. "It was extra special because of the fact (Ilgauskas) was
With 10:49 left in the second quarter, James reached 19 points
on a three-point play, matching the punchless Pistons' total to
James was briefly slowed in that period, going to the bench with
9:22 left after picking up his second foul. But he was
responsible for all but one of Cleveland's 17 points in the
third quarter, scoring 12 points and assisting on two other
After Detroit scored the first eight points of the third quarter
to pull within 54-45, James took charge. He scored three quick
driving baskets and assisted on Ira Newble's bucket that gave
the Cavaliers a 62-47 cushion with 5:27 left in the third.
"That's the reason I called two quick timeouts to try to change
(the momentum)," Silas said. "(LeBron) then just took over. He
just said, 'Give me the ball and I'll win it for you.'"
"(Detroit) was making a run and I couldn't stand down," James
James drilled back-to-back 3-pointers, pushing Cleveland's
advantage to 81-65 with 8:02 remaining.
After the second 3-pointer, James came up the floor with his
tongue out as a crowd of 19,192 roared its approval. With 2:03
to go, he left to a standing ovation.
scored 28 points for the Pistons, who were
coming off Tuesday's lost to the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.
They are 1-2 without forward Ben Wallace
, who served the third
of a six-game suspension for his part in Friday's brawl.