LeBron outduels Kobe as Cavs win
CLEVELAND — As chants of "M-V-P" filled the electrified air, LeBron James locked his thumbs under his maroon jersey and made it pop off his chest.
The Cavaliers had beaten the NBA champions again, and James soaked in every second.
"This," he said, "is what I live for."
Cleveland showed its Christmas Day win over Los Angeles was no gift as James scored 37 points, including 12 straight down the stretch, and the Cavs, playing their first game without injured Mo Williams, beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, 93-87, last night.
J.J. Hickson grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and Anderson Varejao made three free throws in the final 20 seconds for Cleveland.
"He willed this win for us," Cavs coach Mike Brown said of James. "He has been doing that for us down the stretch, no matter who our opponent is."
Bryant, who surpassed 25,000 career points, finished with 31 but was only 4-of-15 in the second half.
NUGGETS 105, CLIPPERS 85
Carmelo Anthony had 28 points and 10 rebounds as host Denver won its fifth in a row. Craig Smith led Los Angeles with 21 points.
IVERSON A STARTER
Allen Iverson was voted to start in the All-Star game yesterday, while Steve Nash and Tim Duncan made late moves to claim starting spots for the Western Conference.
Nash passed the inactive Tracy McGrady as the second guard, while Duncan disappointed Dallas fans hoping to see Dirk Nowitzki start by rallying past the Mavericks forward.
LeBron James was the leading vote-getter for the Feb. 14 game at Cowboys Stadium, becoming the first player to earn at least 2.5 million votes three times. He will make his sixth All-Star appearance.
"The fans still love and see what I do every night and they appreciate it, and I appreciate them for electing me as an All-Star starter," James said.
Joining James and Iverson as East starters are Miami guard Dwyane Wade, Orlando center Dwight Howard and Boston forward Kevin Garnett.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was picked in the West along with Phoenix center Amare Stoudemire and Denver forward Carmelo Anthony.
Cavaliers: Starting point guard Mo Williams, the club's second-leading scorer, will miss at least one month with a sprained left shoulder. An MRI revealed the sprain and the Cavs said that Williams, who has played in 124 of a possible 125 games since joining Cleveland before last season, is projected to be out for the "next four to six weeks."
Celtics: Forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis has been fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language at a fan. NBA executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson announced the fine yesterday. Davis was fined for language he used when addressing a fan during a 92-86 loss to host Detroit at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday.
Thunder: Forward D.J. White is expected to miss six to eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured right thumb. White, who is averaging 4.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in eight games this season, was injured in practice yesterday.