James, Cavaliers Extend Streak to Six
Cleveland 103, Charlotte 91
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 30 (Ticker) -- The "Queen City" got to see the "King James" show, live and in color.
LeBron James scored 22 of his 30 points in the first half as the Cleveland Cavaliers breezed to their sixth straight win, a 103-91 victory over the reeling Charlotte Bobcats, who have dropped a franchise-record 12 straight games.
"It was an important game for us tonight," said James, who made 11-of-19 shots. "We didn't want to win a big game like we did Sunday (vs. Phoenix) and come in here and not play as well as we know we can. We took care of business early, we got a big lead and sustained it."
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 32-20 lead at the end of the first quarter, with James contributing 12 points.
"One of the things I pointed out to the guys was that it was a good win against Phoenix," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "But if we turn around and go to Charlotte and lose that ballgame, then beating Phoenix the night before doesn't really mean anything. Our guys were focused enough to come into the building and get a win."
Charlotte got within 39-32 with under seven minutes remaining in the second quarter before James took it upon himself to rebuild Cleveland's commanding lead. The Cavaliers closed out the quarter on a 17-7 run to take a 56-39 edge into the locker rooms, with James scoring 10 points during the spurt.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half, when the Cavaliers shot 50 percent (22-of-44) from the floor and held the Bobcats to just 2-of-12 from 3-point range.
"We played well given that it's a back-to-back and also against a team that always plays hard," said Ilgauskas, who made 6-of-8 shots. "Fortunately we got them on an off night."
Charlotte never threatened after intermission. With Cleveland holding a comfortable 77-56 advantage in the third quarter, James brought the Bobcats Arena crowd to its feet with a jaw-dropping two-handed reverse dunk at the 1:39 mark.
"I just wanted to get two points," said James, who added six assists. "I was wide open. I didn't know what I was going to do until I took off. I just freestyled it."
Earlier, James announced that he was not going to compete in this year's Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Houston.
"I don't pre-determine what I'm going to do," James said. "That's why I'm not a good dunk contest participant. I don't know what I'm going to do until I jump."
Reserves Donyell Marshall and Luke Jackson scored 14 and 10 points respectively for Cleveland, which shot 48 percent (38-of-78).
Kareem Rush played for the first time since Jan. 4 and scored nine points in 16 minutes. He had sat out the last 13 games with a sprained finger.
Rookie Alan Anderson scored 14 points and Jake Voskuhl contributed eight and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who shot 43 percent (37-of-85), committed 16 turnovers and were outrebounded, 47-41.
"We lose as a team, you win as a team," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "I just think there are some circumstances where we can do better. Really, my disappointment is on the boards."
For the Bobcats, who have been decimated by injuries, it was the 16th loss in their last 17 outings.