CLEVELAND, Dec. 15 (Ticker) -- LeBron James
generated plenty of
excitement in Cleveland when he was drafted first overall. Now
he is starting to generate plenty of wins.
James keyed a third-quarter run as the Cavaliers extended their
home winning streak to nine games with a 112-88 rout of the
Portland Trail Blazers.
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The Cavaliers' home winning streak is their longest since a
12-game run from January 16 to March 16, 1993, when the team
played in the Richfield Coliseum. James was just 9 at the time.
"We are feeding off the crowd, and feeding off ourselves," James
said. "We feel that we are playing so well at home that no one
can come in here and beat us."
"I think we've kind of established ourselves at home," Cleveland
coach Paul Silas
said. "(Opponents) know that this is going to
be a tough place to play. They've got to come with their A game
or else we've got a good chance to win."
Still just 19, James quickly has revitalized a downtrodden
franchise in just his second season. The phenom had averaged
30.1 points in his first nine homes games and came alive after
intermission in this one.
"(James) was as good as advertised," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks
said. "Everything you see on TV, he was as good or
better. He ignited himself and his team."
After scoring just nine points in the first half, James netted
the first seven of a 20-5 run that turned a tie game into a
73-58 lead with a 3:15 left in the third quarter. He scored 12
points in the decisive spurt, including a highlight-reel,
one-handed, alley-oop tip-in on a feed from Drew Gooden
"That was unreal," Silas said about James' eye-popping play. "I
mean, whew, no I haven't (seen anything like that). First of
all, it was not a great pass. (James) made it out to be a great
"All of a sudden, I don't know, it was like (James) hit a button
or something," Cheeks said. "It just turned on his game and it
ignited himself and it ignited his team."
James collected 25 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and
continues to flirt with his first triple-double.
scored a season-high 18 points for the Cavaliers, who
are unbeaten at home since a season-opening 109-104
double-overtime loss to Indiana.
"Coming from the CBA, I just play every game like it could be my
last game," Newble said.
In their latest home win, the Cavaliers also received a lift
from Brazilian rookie Anderson Varejao
, who provided energy off
the bench in the second quarter when he scored eight points to
go along with four steals.
The game was the first between the teams since last January's
trade that sent forward Darius Miles
to Portland for point guard
and forward Ruben Boumtje Boumtje.
Miles played well against his former team, scoring 21 points to
lead the Trail Blazers, who have lost the first two games of a
six-game road trip.
"I have no hard feelings," Miles said. "It was cool. It was no
big deal (coming back to Cleveland)."
"We've got to get mentally stronger," Cheeks said. "They put a
run on us and we just kind of deflated."
McInnis also had a strong game with 18 points and nine assists.
Portland played without forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim
, who sat out
with a hyperextended right elbow. There was speculation that
the third overall pick in the 1996 draft might be involved in a
"(Abdur-Rahim's injury) was a surprise," said Cheeks, who had
the 6-9 forward penciled in as a starter. "He hurt his elbow a
couple of games ago at Utah (December 10).