NBA: LeBron scores 41 as Cavs hold off Blazers 106-94
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. — LeBron James had 41 points and 10 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a fourth-quarter Portland rally to beat the Trail Blazers 106-94 on Sunday night.
Shaquille O’Neal had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who won their sixth straight against the Blazers.
James, wearing one blue shoe and one orange shoe, was 8 for 8 from the floor for 20 points in the first quarter alone. He finished 13 of 19 from the field and made 12 of 14 free-throw attempts.
Brandon Roy scored 34 points for the Blazers, who trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half but rallied late, closing to 76-74 on two consecutive 3-pointers from Martell Webster and Andre Miller’s layup.
Portland didn’t get any closer until Roy’s 3-pointer with 6:55 left tied it at 87.
After the teams traded free throws, Anderson Varejao hit a layup to give the Cavaliers back the lead at 91-89. Mo William’s 3-pointer extended it to 95-89, and after a couple of costly Blazers turnovers, Jawad Williams hit a 3-pointer to stretch it to 98-89 with 2:58 left, and Cleveland led the rest of the way.
The Trail Blazers were hampered without a big man to counter O’Neal. Both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla sustained season-ending knee injuries. Veteran Juwan Howard has been filling in.
Oden and Przybilla top a long list of injuries Portland is dealing with. Forwards Nicolas Batum (shoulder), Travis Outlaw (left foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back) are all rehabbing.
The Blazers did see the return Sunday night of guard Steve Blake, who was recently hospitalized for pneumonia and missed four games.
But the Blazers had no solution for James. His layup capped a 12-0 Cleveland run in the second quarter that stretched the lead to 46-31, and the Cavaliers led 64-49 at the break. James finished the first half with 31 points — the most points the Blazers have allowed in a half this season.
Portland was coming off an emotional 107-98 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, and fans at the Rose Garden were hopeful. One held a sign reading: “LeBron may be King but we have ROYalty.”
The Cavaliers were coming off a 99-97 loss Friday night to the Denver Nuggets, who won despite playing without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony.
NOTES: There was a moment of silence before the game for former Seattle Supersonics broadcaster Bob Blackburn, who died Friday at age 85 after a long illness. Blackburn was a fixture in the Pacific Northwest. ... In the first half, O’Neal tumbled into the courtside seats and planted a kiss on the cheek of actor Daniel Baldwin, who was sitting courtside in a Blazers jersey. ... Also in the crowd was former Blazer Chris Dudley, who is running for governor in Oregon.