Cavaliers Stop Grizzlies to Stay Perfect at Home
Cleveland 89, Memphis 70
CLEVELAND, Nov. 11 (Ticker) -- LeBron James remained short of an impressive offensive milestone but helped the Cleveland Cavaliers get a measure of revenge defensively against the Memphis Grizzlies.
James shrugged off three first-half fouls to lead five players in double figures with 16 points as the Cavaliers showcased a stifling defensive effort in an 89-70 victory over the Grizzlies.
"I know I have enough help this year that if I get into foul trouble I can sit out and we can still get the win," James said. "By the time I got back out there, they had pushed (the lead) up to 20."
The Grizzlies were whistled for five offensive fouls, which pleased Cleveland's defensive-minded first-year coach Mike Brown.
"I get excited about charges," Brown said. "I've got to calm down. I love (charges) more than anything else."
Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, criticized for his lack of defensive play in the past, took two of the five charges.
"(Ilgauskas) had two charges, and I know you all are not used to seeing Z take charges, but he might be leading our team," Brown said.
"Coach Brown has been helping me out a lot with my positioning and reaction," Ilgauskas said. "We have been trying to buy into (Brown's) system and working on getting better with our defense."
In the first meeting between the teams Saturday, Memphis shot 58 percent (38-of-66) from the floor and had six players score in double figures in a 113-106 home victory.
On Friday, the Grizzlies were forced into 19 turnovers, shot 36 percent (27-of-75) and made just 9-of-17 free throws. They had only 48 points and 18 baskets through the first three quarters and never were in it after the Cavaliers blitzed them with a 13-0 run in the third period.
"Our defense was tenacious," Cleveland forward Drew Gooden said. "Rebounding, banging and physical play early set the tone."
James scored eight points in the first half as the Cavaliers opened a 47-36 lead, then teamed with Ilgauskas to spearhead the critical surge.
Ilgauskas scored the first two baskets of the run on assists from James and had eight points in the burst.
James brought the crowd to his feet with a stellar sequence late in the surge. After missing a 3-pointer from the point, he followed his own shot, faked a behind-the-back pass in the lane which fooled a defender and scooped in a layup for a 66-43 lead.
Ilgauskas scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Gooden chipped in 12 points, nine boards and four blocked shots. Donyell Marshall scored 12 off the bench for Cleveland, which is 3-0 at home for the sixth time in franchise history.
"We had a balanced attack tonight," Marshall said. "Everybody just did their job."
By sinking six free throws, Ilgauskas moved into fifth place on Cleveland's all-time list with 1,632, surpassing Campy Russell.
Eddie Jones scored 15 points and Pau Gasol added 13 for Memphis, which suffered a loss on a buzzer-beater at Boston on Wednesday to start its three-game road trip.
"I think they scored 30 points off of our turnovers," Memphis guard Mike Miller said. "It is hard to make up those kind of stats. We just have to be ready to play tomorrow (at Atlanta)."
The Cavaliers were sloppy at times as well, committing 20 turnovers, but the Grizzlies did not score off one until Gasol's jumper made it 71-48 at the end of the third period.
"(Cleveland) defended like a team," said Memphis coach Mike Fratello, who coached the Cavaliers from 1993-99. "They shared the ball offensively. You have to answer at the beginning of the game. We did not, and they did."