LARRY HUGHES
In his second game back after missing a month with a leg injury, Hughes erupted for 36 points on 13-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-8 from the 3-point line. He also had four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
JIM O'BRIEN
“Larry Hughes was fantastic. I thought they had two LeBron James’s out there. He didn’t miss a shot and was hot the whole game. Getting him healthy and Varejao healthy, it’s really a big plus for this ballclub. And, not to mention LeBron. I’m sure they’re very, very happy getting everybody a clean bill of health right now.”
  • Points in the paint: Cavaliers 38, Pacers 36
  • Fast-break points: Pacers 16, Cavaliers 14
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 18, Cavaliers 10
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 20, Cavaliers 12
  • Starters scoring: Pacers 76, Cavaliers 44
  • Bench scoring: Cavaliers 74, Pacers 29
  • With LeBron James missing all but one half of the last six games, the Cavs averaged 80.7 points and went 0-6. In games he's played, they've averaged 103.1 points and gone 10-6.
    The four-game, five-night stretch continues Wednesday in Conseco Fieldhouse against Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Ben Wallace and the Chicago Bulls (7 p.m., FSN-Indiana, WIBC 1070-AM).
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  • CLEVELAND 118, INDIANA 105
    Cavs get major boost from "bench"

    At Cleveland | Dec. 11, 2007


    For one night, anyway, the Cavaliers had one of the best benches imaginable – and they made full use of their newfound wealth of depth.

    With LeBron James returning from a 5½-game absence as a reserve, joining Larry Hughes – another usual starter – on the second unit, Cleveland used two huge runs fueled by its suddenly explosive reserves to pull away from visiting Indiana for a 118-105 victory Tuesday night.

    The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Cavaliers (10-12), who pulled one-half game behind the Pacers (10-11) in the Central Division. Indiana played without starting center Jeff Foster, who was a late scratch due to back spasms that struck during pregame warmups.

    “It was pretty tough," said Mike Dunleavy. "You’ve got to give them some credit, they hit a lot of shots. Obviously, we were not pleased with our defensive effort. From the start, we just gave them too many looks and we didn’t contest enough shots. They pretty much had their way. It definitely makes it tough to beat a team like that.”

    Dunleavy led the Pacers with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, adding six rebounds and five assists. Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points in 26 minutes but pulled just four rebounds. Troy Murphy stated in Foster's place and had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jamaal Tinsley, in his first game since being the target of a weekend shooting incident, had 10 points and nine assists.

    Playing just his second game back after missing a month with a leg injury, Hughes erupted for 36 points in 26 minutes, hitting 13-of-17 shots including 5-of-8 from the 3-point line. James played 23 minutes off the bench and cruised to 17 points and five assists. Zydrunas Ilgauskas also scored 17 for the Cavs, who improved to 10-6 in games James has played thanks to 74 "bench" points -- 53 from Hughes and James.

    "It is a good feeling," said James. "You go through a stretch where you are losing games and people look at us like we are not a good team. But, we know once we get all of our guys back it is a totally different story. We are back now, so we will see what happens.”

    James, who said he has never come off the bench in his career, suggested the move to Coach Mike Brown.

    "It felt different, but I had no problem with it," James said. "I asked Coach to come off the bench. I thought it would raise the intensity of the fans having Larry (Hughes), Andy (Varejao), and me come in at the same time and it worked.”

    When James and Hughes weren't on the floor, the Pacers matched up well. When both joined the fray, however, Indiana didn't stand much of a chance.

    "Larry Hughes was fantastic," said Pacers Coach Jim O'Brien. "I thought they had two LeBron James’s out there."

    Indiana had an early 11-8 lead and trailed just 15-12 midway through the first period but when James and Hughes checking in from the bench, the Cavs commenced a 19-2 run. Hughes scored 12 of the points in the run that built a 34-14 lead.

    The Pacers opened the second quarter with a 15-2 burst fueled by Dunleavy's seven points to cut it to 39-31 but Hughes and James combined for 10 in a 13-2 run that pushed the lead back to 54-35.

    Consecutive 3-pointers from Tinsley early in the third quarter brought the Pacers within striking distance once again, trailing 70-61. But in came James and Hughes and the Cavs promptly put together an 18-3 run that made it 88-64 and the Pacers had no more surges.


    NOTEWORTHY
  • With Foster out, the Pacers were perilously thin in the frontcourt, as backup center David Harrison missed his second game in a row with a sore lower back. Ike Diogu remains on the inactive list with a torn left calf muscle.
  • Anderson Varejao, who recently ended a lengthy contract dispute, made his first appearance of the season for the Cavs.
  • Cleveland was without guard Daniel Gibson, who missed the game with an impacted wisdom tooh.
  • The Cavs' point total bested their previous season-high of 116.