Cleveland gets 2nd straight win over Charlotte

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jeff McInnis has plenty to motivate him this season -- a playoff berth, a new contract, peace of mind.

One thing, though, might be driving Cleveland's point guard more than anything.

"He's mad at not being on the All-Star ballot," teammate
LeBron James said. "He's taking it out on opponents."

So are the rest of the Cavaliers, who won their sixth straight, 100-84 over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

James scored 25 points, McInnis added a season-high 24 and
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers (6-3), who got victory No. 6 this season 13 games earlier than they did a season ago.

"We were 6-19," said Cavs coach Paul Silas, remembering the lousy start of 2003-04 that cost any chance at the postseason. "Hopefully we can keep this thing rolling."

McInnis scored seven straight points during an 11-0 run late in the third quarter when the Cavaliers built an 18-point lead. McInnis, who had 12 points in the period, is averaging 18.2 and shooting 56 percent from the floor during Cleveland's streak.

"He's in a nice flow right now," Silas said. "When he's going like this, we're a pretty good club."

Cleveland beat the expansion Bobcats for the second time in three days. The Cavaliers defeated Charlotte by 17 on Thursday.

This one wasn't nearly as easy as the Cavaliers led 69-62 with 2:54 remaining in the third.

James, whose scoring average is more than seven points higher than during his rookie of the year season, then muscled inside for a tip-in before McInnis went on a one-man scoring mission. He hit a 6-foot floater in the lane, dropped two free throws and drilled a
3-pointer to make it 78-62.

Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff was upset with defensive breakdowns that allowed McInnis to score easily.

"I would never leave him because he makes big shots," Bickerstaff said. "Always has."

Drew Gooden's two free throws capped the 11-point spurt, and when James converted a three-point play to make it 85-65 early in the fourth, Silas felt comfortable enough to rest some of his starters.

But the Bobcats rallied, pulling within 89-76 on Eddie House's
basket with 4:57 to go. That's when Silas decided he had seen enough and brought back his first unit. James' dunk with 3:27 left made it 95-79 and finally put Charlotte away.

McInnis said the Cavaliers are getting contributions from everyone.

"It's all of us. Y'all just give all the credit to LeBron," he said, laughing.

McInnis, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, said he struggled earlier this season as he adjusted to new teammates.

"The first three games I wasn't playing like myself," McInnis said. "I was feeling my teammates out. Now I'm having fun."

The Cavaliers have had two longer winning streaks since 1997. They won seven straight last season and reeled off 10 in a row in 1997.

Gerald Wallace had 15 points and rookie Emeka Okafor 13 for Charlotte, which scored just 15 points in the third quarter and has lost six straight.

"The intentions are good," Bickerstaff said. "The decisions are bad. As an expansion team or a team on the road, you can't make mistakes like we have."

Game notes
James added eight rebounds. During Cleveland's streak, he's averaging 27.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists. ... Cleveland's Lucious Harris, who has been searching for his shooting touch much of the early season, drained four straight jumpers in a span of 1:38. ... Bobcats center Primoz Brezec had a career-high 12 rebounds. ... The Pacers-Pistons brawl was discussed and debated.
James isn't sure what he'd do if he were in Ron Artest's situation and had been hit in the face. And although James doesn't feel threatened or unsafe with crowds so close to the floor, he does wonder why some fans can't behave. "It seems some just come to heckle," he said. "There's freedom of speech but freedom of speech can get you in a lot of trouble." ... Charlotte will be the first team to visit Detroit since the fight on Sunday.