Jamesí Season-High Sparks Cavaliers
Cleveland 114, Washington 99
CLEVELAND, Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- It took a quarter for LeBron James to get going. Once he did, there was little the Washington Wizards could do to stop him.
James scored 35 of his season-high 37 points after the first period to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their fifth straight win, a 114-99 victory over the Wizards.
"We've shown this isn't a fluke thing going on," James said. "Early on we were struggling, but now everything is coming together for us."
"(James) is absolutely amazing," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He is a joy to be around and to coach. His leadership ability, his leadership skills are off the charts. He makes my job so (much) easier."
James, the NBA's fifth-leading scorer, continued his hot shooting after the break with another 14 points in the third quarter. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added all 12 of his points in the period to help the Cavaliers take an 82-70 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Washington got within 96-86 with 5:50 remaining before former Wizard Larry Hughes scored 12 of Cleveland's next 14 points to rebuild the lead 110-95 with 1:30 left. Cleveland cruised to its fourth double-digit home win.
"Every time we tried to make a run, LeBron answered," Washington guard Gilbert Arenas said. "When we tried to make a run at the end, Larry (Hughes) answered."
Hughes collected 22 points and eight assists in his first game against the Wizards since signing a five-year, $60 million contract with the Cavaliers in the offseason.
Arenas, the league's fourth-best scorer coming off an NBA season-best 43 points against San Antonio on Saturday, was held to just 18 on a dismal 4-of-18 shooting.
"I had my hand up," Hughes said. "I tried to make him take contested jump shots. He had a couple of good looks early and they didn't go down. He's a guy who likes to go left, so I jumped in front of him."
"They were pretty much loading up their defense to one side, or they would trap Gil in the middle of the floor," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said.
Both Arenas and Hughes acknowledged that the former Wizard's knowledge of the offense helped in slowing the team and Arenas down.
"(Hughes) knows every play and he's cheating every play," Arenas said. "But when it comes down to it, it's just basketball."
"I was yelling out every play they called," Hughes said.
Asked if the Wizards changed the names of their plays, Hughes said, "They did, but I was able to figure it out."
Arenas did not score a basket in the second or third quarters.
"We talked about a balanced attack before the game," Jordan said. "After Gil's performance over the weekend (against San Antonio), we talked that they were going to concentrate on him, and that we needed more balance from everyone else."
Antawn Jamison scored 26 points for Washington, which lost for the first time in three road games this season.