Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/14

Game 1: Saturday, December 14th
Game 2: Friday, January 17th

Cavaliers 80

(8-33, 3-20 away)

Nuggets 97


    Coverage: FSOH

    7:00 PM ET, January 17, 2003

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 23 26 12 1980
    DEN 25 29 28 1597

    Top Performers

    Cleveland: Z. Ilgauskas 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Stl

    Denver: J. Howard 25 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Nuggets win battle of NBA's two worst teams

    DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets got a boost from the return of Marcus Camby, even if his season debut was brief.

    Juwan Howard

    Camby played only seven minutes, getting five points and three rebounds, but his mere presence helped spark the Nuggets to a 97-80 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

    In a matchup of the NBA's two worst teams, Juwan Howard had 25 points and eight rebounds for Denver.

    "I've played against Marcus for a number of years,'' Howard said. "When he's out there on the court, it's a huge difference. It makes our team more exciting, tougher on the inside and better defensively.''

    Camby, sidelined since having surgery on his right hip on Oct. 10, sprained his right ankle just 17 seconds into Friday night's game. The center/forward didn't return until the second quarter.

    "I was very, very proud of him,'' coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "He came to me and said, `I want to play.' He gutted through his time on the court and he was effective. It was a start, it was something to build on.''

    The oft-injured Camby said his ankle was "a little sore right now, but I think I'll be all right. They wanted to sit me down, but I was like, `Nah, I've worked too hard.' So I tried to gut it out.

    "I wish I could have been in there longer. The plan was for me to play the first half, 10 to 20 minutes. I was frustrated that I only got seven, but it was an efficient seven.''

    Rodney White came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points for Denver, which used a 17-0 run at the start of the third quarter to build a 22-point lead.

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas led Cleveland with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Rookie Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 15 rebounds.

    The Nuggets converted 30 Cleveland turnovers into 32 points in a game that had been dubbed the LeBron Bowl, since it could have a bearing on which team wins the No. 1 overall draft pick and the right to select high school star LeBron James.

    Cleveland is 8-33 and Denver is 10-29. Toronto also is in the mix, bowing to New Jersey on Friday night and falling to 10-30.

    Camby was held out in the second half after his foot stiffened up, but the Nuggets didn't need him after their fast start in the third quarter.

    Howard had 10 points during the 17-0 spurt, including two three-point plays. Ryan Bowen made two layups, and Nene Hilario added three points. Hilario's free throw made it 71-49 with 7:17 left in the period.

    Jumaine Jones scored the Cavs' first points of the quarter on a jumper with 6:49 left.

    "They had a 17-0 run to start the third quarter, and we couldn't recover,'' Cavs coach John Lucas said. "That was the difference in the game.''

    Added Ilgauskas, "The third quarter killed us. We came out flat and got totally blown over a few times. We dug too deep of a hole.''

    White's 20-foot jumper gave Denver its biggest lead, 81-57, late in the period.

    Cleveland scored only 12 points on 23 percent shooting (3-of-13) in the quarter.

    Ilgauskas helped the Cavs trim the deficit to 12 points, 89-77, midway through the fourth quarter, but Cleveland could get no closer. White had two baskets in an 8-0 run that put Denver up 97-77.

    The Cavaliers had a pair of 6-0 runs in the first quarter to open up a 22-13 lead with 3:23 left, but Denver then outscored Cleveland 12-1. Bowen had a pair of steals, both resulting in baskets, and Howard hit two jumpers.

    Nikoloz Tskitishvili's jumper beat the buzzer, giving Denver a 25-23 lead despite being outshot 69 percent to 44 percent. The Cavs had 12 turnovers in the period.

    White had eight of Denver's last 13 points in the half, and the Nuggets led 54-49 at intermission.

    Game notes

    Besides Camby, the Nuggets activated forward Chris Andersen from the injured list. They placed forward/center Mark Bryant (right quadriceps strain) and guard Predrag Savovic (sprained right ankle) on the injured list. ... Cavaliers forward Tyrone Hill was placed on the injured list Friday with a bruised right hand. ... The game featured three players chosen to the NBA Rookie Challenge: Cleveland's Carlos Boozer and Dajuan Wagner and Denver's Nene Hilario. ... Denver tied a season high with 18 steals. ... The Nuggets' 97 points represented the second-most this season; they scored 104 points in a 111-104 loss to Cleveland on Dec. 14.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 97
    FGM-FGA 28-64 (.438) 38-89 (.427)
    3PM-3PA 3-15 (.200) 3-7 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 18-25 (.720)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-44 12-34
    Assists 20 27
    Turnovers 30 13
    Steals 8 18
    Blocks 4 1
    Fast Break Points 4 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 21 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas Ilgauskas
    Points: 26
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Juwan Howard Howard
    Points: 25
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0