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Cleveland at Atlanta

Without four of top seven scorers, Cavs find way to beat Hawks

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- The Cleveland Cavaliers had every reason to fold. Four of their top seven scorers were sidelined by injuries. This was the second of back-to-back road games.

But LeBron James stepped up as expected. Damon Jones hit two huge shots down the stretch. And journeyman Ira Newble had his best game of the season.

James scored 26 points despite a sore thumb, and Newble chipped in with a season-best 18 to help the Cavaliers withstand an Atlanta rally in the final quarter for a 100-95 victory Friday night.

"It was a big win," James said. "Having four of our top seven guys out, we needed everybody to step up."

Trying to match their season high with a fourth straight win, Atlanta rallied for the lead on an 11-0 run. But James and the short-handed Cavaliers showed plenty of heart.

"I'll tell you, it was a tough, gritty win for us," coach Mike Brown said.

Jones put the Cavaliers ahead to stay on a drive with 3:29 remaining, set up by a pass from a double-teamed James. Jones followed with the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the corner that made it 94-89 and left him strutting in front of Atlanta's courtside fans.

James did the rest.

He slipped inside of Marvin Williams to grab an offensive rebound, then put it back in to give Cleveland a 96-91 lead with 1:19 remaining. Then, James grabbed a rebound off Joe Johnson's miss, firing a pass ahead to Newble for a breakaway dunk that clinched it with 18 seconds to go.

James also had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Afterward, he looked as though he'd just been through a fight, sitting at his locker with wraps on his right thumb and both knees, while his feet were submerged in a bucket of ice.

"LeBron was LeBron," Brown said. "He did what he does for us, which is score, rebound and dish out assists."

Johnson led the Hawks with 23 points, while Marvin Williams added 21.

The Hawks, who trailed by as many as 14, appeared to have Cleveland on the ropes with those 11 straight points. Josh Smith went in for a thunderous jam, was fouled and finished off the three-point play that gave Atlanta an 85-84 lead with 7:18 left.

But the Hawks couldn't keep it going.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to move up in the standings, but we didn't answer the bell," coach Mike Woodson said.

Cleveland was without Daniel Gibson, who strained his right hamstring the previous night in a loss at Houston, and Drew Gooden was still unable to play after straining his right groin earlier in the week. The Cavaliers already were without Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao, both sidelined by longer-term injuries.

But Newble came up huge. He eclipsed his previous best this season, a 15-point effort against Boston on Tuesday, by hitting 8-of-12 from the field, including a couple of 3-pointers. He also grabbed eight rebounds.

"It doesn't always look the best," James said of his teammate, "but Ira is really effective."

Newble started at guard against the Rockets, then moved up to play forward on Friday.

"I have no clue what Ira is," Brown said. "I just tell him to go play."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Cavaliers get off to a fast start. Hughes chipped in with 15 points, and Jones had 13.

Cleveland appeared to be pulling away in the second quarter. Hughes scored nine points in the period, including a long 3-pointer that gave the Cavaliers their first double-digit lead, 53-42. They stretched the margin as high as 13 before settling for a 59-50 edge at the break.

The Hawks missed their first five shots of the third quarter, and Cleveland made it 67-53 lead on Ilgauskas' tip-in.

But the Cavaliers weren't exactly burning up the nets, either. On four straight possessions later in the third, Eric Snow missed a layup, Hughes fired up an airball from the corner, Ilgauskas bricked a jumper off the backboard and Devin Brown put up another airball.

"It was a game we should've won," Johnson said, "but there was a little lack of focus."

Notes

  • Hughes stubbed his toe with just over five minutes remaining and didn't return.
  • The Hawks wore their blue road uniforms, even though they were the home team.
  • This was the third and final meeting of the season between the teams; Cleveland had a 2-1 edge.
  • With James in town, the Hawks drew an overflow crowd of 19,335, their fourth sellout of the season.
  • An exchange between Hawks coach Mike Woodson and referee Bennett Salvatore during the second quarter. "I know my man's a rookie, but are you telling me he didn't get fouled?" Woodson asked, referring to Ilgauskas' block on Atlanta's Al Horford. After listening to Bennett's explanation, Woodson replied, "That ain't right."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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LeBron James can't do it alone so Ira Newble lends a hand with 18 points.  (AP)
LeBron James can't do it alone so Ira Newble lends a hand with 18 points. (AP)

Scoreboard
Cleveland (28-21) «25342120100
Atlanta (21-25) 2624192695
CLE:L. James 26 Pts
CLE:Z. Ilgauskas 11 Reb
CLE:L. James 7 Ast
ATL:J. Johnson 23 Pts
ATL:J. Smith 8 Reb
ATL:J. Johnson 8 Ast
Players of the Game
AtlantaCleveland

M. Williams

L. James
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
215026117
Cleveland
L. James, SF4411-244-4117226
I. Newble, SF388-120-081418
L. Hughes, SG355-163-672215
Z. Ilgauskas, C308-131-1111317
E. Snow, PG270-42-20532
D. Jones, PG265-90-023113
D. Brown, SG243-60-04526
D. Jones, PF100-10-01020
D. Marshall, PF71-30-01113
D. Gooden, PFDid Not Play
A. Varejao, CDid Not Play
S. Pavlovic, SGDid Not Play
S. Brown, PGDid Not Play
D. Gibson, PGDid Not Play
C. Simmons, SFDid Not Play
Totals 41-8810-13452520100
 46.6%76.9% 
Atlanta
J. Johnson, SG438-205-568023
M. Williams, SF397-147-750221
J. Smith, SF385-135-984115
A. Horford, PF254-101-27029
A. Johnson, PG182-30-04434
J. Childress, SG365-82-463112
T. Lue, PG293-72-22149
Z. Pachulia, C111-20-01012
A. Law, PG10-00-00100
L. Wright, CDid Not Play
S. Claxton, PGDid Not Play
S. Stoudamire, SGDid Not Play
S. Jones, PFDid Not Play
S. Williams, PFDid Not Play
M. West, SGDid Not Play
Totals 35-7722-2939211495
 45.5%75.9% 
Other Games
LAL 117 Final
Orl 113
LAC 102 Final
Tor 98
NJ 104 Final
Char 90
SA 99 Final
NY 93
Port 82 Final
Det 91
Bos 88 Final
Min 86
Mem 81 Final
Dal 92
Sea 99 Final
Pho 103
Utah 104 Final
Sac 117
Wash 100 Final
Den 111