Daily Confidential

Bad games for LeBron James have been a rarity in the 22-year-old's career.

The Cleveland Cavaliers hope he'll remember how to bounce back as the Cavaliers (20-12) look for a rare win against New Jersey Nets on Saturday following one of the worst performances of the star player's young career.

James has performed well against the Nets (14-18), especially last season when he averaged 31.5 points in four games, making a good performance following Friday's dismal showing extremely likely.

James was held to a season-low eight points in Friday's 95-86 win over Milwaukee, but he was helped out by a solid effort from Drew Gooden, who scored a season-high 31 points and matched a season high with 16 rebounds in the come-from-behind win. Cleveland trailed almost the entire second half before taking the lead with less than three minutes left.

James, who finished 3-of-13 with nine assists and five rebounds, said shot selection wasn't the source of his poor performance, but was grateful his teammates could pick up the slack.

"Out of my 13 shots ... probably 11 of them was good shots," he said. "I mean, 13 shots for me, and a win. Eight points, but we got a win. Anytime my teammates pick it up for me like that it's great to see."

It was just the eighth time in 270 career games James failed to score 10 points, and it was his lowest output since a career-worst three points on Dec. 29, 2004. He followed that performance by scoring 26 points against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 3, 2005.

James came into the game averaging 27.2 points per game and had scored at least 30 points in four of his previous six games.

Cleveland has won five of its last six and is playing its final home game before a season-long seven-game road trip. The Cavaliers are 14-3 at home - tied with the Chicago Bulls for the Eastern Conference's best home record - but they have lost six of the last eight meetings against the Nets, including a 113-111 loss on Dec. 20.

James had 37 points in that game, while Vince Carter scored 38 and came up with a crucial steal in the final 10 seconds to preserve New Jersey's win.

Carter scored 21 points in the Nets' 91-86 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday for the team's first three-game winning streak of the season. Carter and Jason Kidd combined for 10 points during a crucial run when the Bulls led by three points with less than three minutes left. Carter had a pair of free throws and a basket to put New Jersey up for good with 1:05 to play, and Kidd scored the next six points.

"This is a veteran ballclub," Kidd said. "We never panic. We feel if we can get a stop, come down and explore and share the ball, we feel we're just as good as anybody. Tonight, we made a run at the right time."

Kidd finished one point and two rebounds shy of a triple-double in the Dec. 20 victory and has averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 assists in 31 lifetime games against the Cavaliers.

Carter has been somewhat inconsistent in the last four games, scoring 28, 12, 23, and 14 points, but he has performed well against James and the Cavaliers. He has averaged 26.8 points in his career against Cleveland, scoring 30 or more points 13 times in 25 lifetime games.

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