With the Cavs leading by 21, James sat the final 6:10 and missed
another chance at his first career triple-double. He finished with
11 rebounds and seven assists.
"As long as we keep getting wins, I could care less," James
Jeff McInnis added 18 points, Drew Gooden 15 and rookie Anderson
Varejao 12 for the Cavaliers, who got their 14th victory of the
season more than one month earlier than they did last year.
Cleveland (14-8) didn't get win No. 14 until Jan. 20, one day
before they swapped Darius Miles to Portland for McInnis -- a trade
that gave the Cavs a key missing piece and transformed them into
The Cavaliers are 34-19 since McInnis' arrival.
"Really?" McInnis said when told of the turnaround he has
helped orchestrate. "This is as much fun as I've had in a long
time. At one point last season, I wasn't sure I wanted to play
anymore -- things were that bad in Portland."
Cleveland's home winning streak is the club's longest at the
Gund, which opened in 1994. The Cavs last won nine in a row at home
in 1993 when they reeled off 12 straight from Jan. 16 to March 16
at Richfield Coliseum.
"We're feeding off the crowd, and feeding off ourselves," said
James, who is averaging 30 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists at
home. "We feel that no one can come in here and beat us."
Miles paced the Blazers by matching his season-high with 21
points. He got his first start this season in his return to
Cleveland, replacing Shareef Abdur-Rahim, whom the Blazers said has
a hyperextended right elbow.
Portland coach Maurice Cheeks made no mention of the injury
before the game, fueling speculation the forward is on the trading
Cheeks said Abdur-Rahim told him shortly before the opening tip
that he couldn't play.
"It was news to me," Cheeks said. "I had him on the lineup
card, but he had hurt his elbow in Utah (Sunday night) and he
Rahim said he would have been ineffective.
"I could go out there and run around, but I couldn't play," he
said. "I couldn't lift my arm."
James scored 12 points in a span of only 2:51 of the third
quarter, helping the Cavs open a 67-56 lead.
He drained a pair of 3-pointers, a 14-foot jumper, a layup and
converted a sensational alley-oop basket off a pass from Gooden,
whose feed seemed to surprise James as he came down the right side.
But grabbing the ball with his left hand on the baseline, James
guided it into the basket while using his right arm to protect
himself from hitting the underside of the backboard.
"I just throw it up in the air, and he goes up and gets it,"
Gooden said. "I put too much sauce on that one."
James was thankful that he came down safely.
"Drew almost broke my shoulder," he said. "But if he puts
them up there, I'll go get them."
Cheeks was impressed with how quickly James dominated.
"It was like he hit a button and took off," Cheeks said.
The Cavaliers continued to pull away, closing the third with a
13-5 run. Leading by 11, McInnis hit a 3-pointer from the left
corner, Newble stole the inbounds pass and passed to Gooden, who
hit a jumper as the horn sounded to put the Cavs ahead 80-64
entering the fourth.
James scored his final basket when he came flying in to dunk
with 6:29 to go, giving the Cavs a 90-71 lead.
Sluggish on offense for much of the first half, the Cavaliers
began to click in the second quarter while James was on the bench.
Newble scored four points during a 9-0 run and Varejao had five
points and two steals as Cleveland closed the half with a 17-6
spurt to open a 51-45 lead.
Turnovers hurt the Blazers, whose 11 miscues in the first half
led to 16 points for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland's 9-1 home record is tops in the Eastern
Conference. ... The Blazers played their second game of a
six-games-in-nine days road trip. ... James has scored more than 20
points 17 times this season. ... McInnis averaged 7.9 points and
3.2 assists in 114 games for Portland. He came in averaging 13.2
and 6.6 in 52 games with Cleveland. ... Before Miles got the
surprise start, Portland's starting lineup had been the same for
the first 20 games.