Cavaliers, Heat Win Big Against Rivals

Thursday, March 8th 2007, 5:54 am
By: News On 6

LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal made sure their teams wouldn't be pushed around again by rivals. There was nothing Kobe Bryant could do to help the Lakers, however.

Suspended by the NBA for the second time this season for striking a player in the face after taking a shot, Bryant wasn't around when Los Angeles fell 110-90 in Milwaukee on Wednesday night for its fourth straight loss.

The Lakers, already battling a number of injuries, had only nine available players.

``I was just looking down there for some help, and there was nothing there,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of his bench.

In other games, it was: Atlanta 100, Washington 97; Toronto 94, Memphis 87; Philadelphia 92, Seattle 89; Miami 103, Chicago 70; Houston 111, Boston 80; Cleveland 101, Detroit 97 in overtime; Utah 94, Indiana 72; Phoenix 115, Charlotte 106 in overtime; and Golden State 110, Denver 96.

James scored a season-high 41 points, leading the Cavaliers in Detroit. The Pistons had won the last four meetings, dating to Game 6 of last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, including two games at Cleveland this season by an average of 14 points.

``The way they handled us so far this year, it was very big to come on their court and get a win,'' James said.

O'Neal had 24 points, nine rebounds and a season-high eight assists to lead Miami to its first victory in four meetings with Chicago this season. In their last visit to Miami, the Bulls won 108-66 on opening night, ruining Miami's ring celebration.

The Heat beat Chicago in six games in the first round of last season's playoffs.

``They've been a little bit more serious in playing us than we were in playing them,'' O'Neal said in Miami. ``So we knew that we owed this team. They hate us for some reason, which is fine.''

Miami outscored Chicago 38-9 over a decisive second-half spurt and got 23 points from Eddie Jones while improving to 5-2 since Dwyane Wade's shoulder injury. The Heat also closed within three games of Southeast Division leader Washington.

``They just dominated us in three games. They, like, toyed with us,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said of the Bulls. ``Somewhere, regardless of what the situations were with injuries or whatever, you've got to confront and compete with a team like them who you're vying with for position in the conference. Our guys took that to heart.''

So did the Cavs, who got another sensational performance from James. He has scored 32 or more points in five straight games, with Cleveland winning four of them.

James made three go-ahead baskets in the final 2 1/2 minutes and made it 93-all on a dunk with 5.7 seconds left.

``He had it going, hitting some tough, tough shots,'' Detroit's Chauncey Billups said. ``That's what makes him a great player.''

Cleveland pulled within two games of the Pistons for the top spot in the Central Division and Eastern Conference after what James called a ``big win.''

``It does helps sometimes in the regular season to get wins against teams that you might see in the playoffs,'' James said. ``For some guys' psyche, it really helps to know we can compete against some of these teams.''

Jazz 94, Pacers 72

At Salt Lake City, Carlos Boozer had 14 points and 16 rebounds, and Utah extended its winning streak to five straight and pushed Indiana's skid to seven.

Utah improved to 42-19, topping last season's win total by one and ensuring that the Jazz will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2004. Utah has won 13 of 15 and is closing in on the Northwest Division title.

Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal left in the third quarter with a sore left knee and didn't return. He finished with 11 points.

Suns 115, Bobcats 106, OT

Phoenix needed a career-high 32 points from Leandro Barbosa and 19 3-pointers _ one shy of the franchise record _ to hand visiting Charlotte its seventh loss in a row.

Warriors 110, Nuggets 96

At Oakland, Calif., Baron Davis scored 22 points, and Golden State took advantage of Carmelo Anthony's absence to beat Denver.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Warriors (28-35), who were 16-for-34 from 3-point range.

Allen Iverson led Denver (29-30) with 35 points. Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer, remained in Denver after the birth of his first child.

Hawks 100, Wizards 97

At Atlanta, Zaza Pachulia scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and the Hawks shook off the absence of three starters to beat Southeast Division-leading Washington and snap a six-game losing streak.

76ers 92, SuperSonics 89

At Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala had his third triple-double of the season and Joe Smith swished the winning jumper with 14.4 seconds left to lead the resurgent 76ers to their fifth straight win.

Iguodala finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Samuel Dalembert grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds.

Ray Allen scored 29 points for the SuperSonics, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Raptors 94, Grizzlies 87

At Toronto, Chris Bosh had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Toronto ended a three-game losing streak.

Andrea Bargnani, the No. 1 pick in the draft, added 18 points for the Raptors, who moved 4 1/2 games ahead of idle New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Rockets 111, Celtics 80

At Boston, Tracy McGrady had 25 points and nine assists, and Houston snapped the Celtics' four-game winning streak.

Yao Ming, playing for the second time since missing 32 games with a fracture in his right leg, had 11 points and five rebounds for Houston.