Though the attendance was nowhere near the figure of 20,562 that was announced, the 10,000 or 12,000 who braved the bitter cold and drifting snow were appreciated.
"It means a lot," James said of the turnout. "The fans are the backbone of this organization. Even with the weather as bad as it was it was great to see so many people come out and support us."
A winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on the city. Cars buried up their doors in drifts could be seen near the arena.
The Pacers arrived in Cleveland on Thursday after a loss to San Antonio and before the weather affected travel. Because of the inclement conditions, they were planning on staying over Saturday night.
How bad was it? Cavaliers guard Delonte West said he and a couple of other players ran into trouble on their way to the game.
"Yeah, we got stuck in a four-wheel-drive SUV," West said, smiling. "The only thing that could have saved us was a bulldozer."
The Cavaliers were on top by as many as 21 points, with James scoring 18 points in the third quarter to put them up 77-64.
"LeBron is a tough guard for anybody," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "He's the best offensive player in the world. He got very hot at the beginning of the third and when he's making 3-point shots like that he's virtually unstoppable."
James hit 5-of-8 shots behind the arc -- including two big ones down the stretch after the Pacers had clawed their way back.
"I wanted to stay aggressive," he said of his third-period surge. "Once I'm in a zone like that it's tough for anyone to stop me."
The Pacers made things interesting with a 7-0 run to draw to 92-87 with 3:46 left. But Granger fouled out at that point and the Pacers were short-handed the rest of the way.
James went scoreless in the final period until there was 3:35 remaining. He then hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and assisted on a Varejao basket inside to push the lead back to 97-87.
Daniels and Murphy hit 3-pointers for the Pacers to cut the gap to 97-93 before James hit a stepback 3 from in front of the Pacers bench at the 1:21 mark.
James had to be treated by a trainer for cramps in his left thigh in the final minute.
West hit two foul shots with 32.8 seconds left and Varejao added another to close the scoring.
"Tonight was a product of us getting more familiar with one another," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "It showed on the offensive side tonight for sure."
The Cavaliers continued their mastery of the Pacers. They've won the last seven meetings and 10 of the last 11, including seven straight at Quicken Loans Arena. The victory gave the Cavaliers their first season sweep over Indiana since 1992-93.
Cleveland dominated the opening half, rolling to a 34-17 lead after a quarter while the Pacers struggled on offense. They hit just 7 of 23 from the field for 30 percent, while the Cavaliers were making 59 percent (13 of 22) of their shots.
James had 14 points and seven boards by halftime, with Varejao adding 12 points and 12 rebounds - just one off the Quicken Loans Arena record for a half.
As has been his routine lately, he closed the half with a flourish, driving the lane for a reverse dunk with less than a second left for a 51-37 lead.
"He's been making them lately from all angles and all ranges," said Smith, acquired by the Cavs just before the trade deadline. "I'm still getting used to it because you just don't see it. I just stand there and say, 'Wow.'"
- The Cavs are 21-4 this season when James has a double-double.
- James has scored 25 or more points in 21 straight games and 20 or more in 39 straight games.
- He now has the longest stretch of 25 or more points since Allen Iverson's stretch of 27 straight from Jan. 12 to March 9, 2001.
- The Cavs had 23 offensive rebounds to just eight for the Pacers.