Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/26

Game 1: Sunday, December 26th
Game 2: Monday, March 28th

Hornets 91

(2-24, 1-14 away)

Cavaliers 100

(16-11, 11-2 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, December 26, 2004

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 22 20 29 2091
    CLE 28 25 20 27100

    Top Performers

    New Orleans: L. Nailon 18 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Cleveland: L. James 22 Pts, 9 Reb, 14 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    James just misses triple-double

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jeff McInnis gave LeBron James all the credit for setting up his shots during a late scoring spree.

    "I just love playing with him," McInnis said. "He made some passes where I've just got to look at the tape to see them again."

    McInnis scored six points -- including a shot he "just threw in the air and it went in," in a 47-second span in the final minutes -- to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-91 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.

    James came within one rebound of his first career triple-double with 22 points and a career-high 14 assists.

    "If we had lost, it would have made me mad," said James, who had nine rebounds with 9:59 to play -- then didn't have another missed shot bounce his way.

    "It just wasn't meant to be, but I'm happy because we got the win," he said.

    Drew Gooden had 18 points and 18 rebounds, while McInnis finished with 16 points and 10 assists for Cleveland, which improved to 11-2 at home and handed the Hornets their 12th consecutive road loss.

    Lee Nailon scored 18 points against his former team to lead New Orleans. Hornets rookie Matt Freije had season highs of 12 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

    McInnis' three-point play with 2:16 left put Cleveland ahead to stay. He hit a running 16-footer, was fouled by Baron Davis, and sank the free throw for a 92-89 lead.

    "I knew there was contact and I was going to go to the line, so I just threw the ball at the basket," McInnis said. "I was surprised it went in."

    Gooden then rebounded a miss by Nailon and triggered a Cleveland break. James passed to McInnis open on the right wing and he swished a 3-pointer for a 95-89 advantage.

    "LeBron gets the credit for my shots," McInnis said.

    James, four days shy of his 20th birthday, again flirted with becoming the youngest NBA player to get a triple-double. Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers was 20 years, 54 days old when he became the youngest to do it on Dec. 30, 1999 -- which also was James' 15th birthday.

    The Hornets' Baron Davis, in his second game since missing 19 with an inflamed disk in his lower back, had 14 points in 19 minutes, hitting four of seven shots from 3-point range.

    "I'm not even close to where I want to be, no lift to my legs," Davis said. "I'm just out there playing about 50, 60 percent."

    Davis' shooting helped the Hornets as the teams exchanged wild momentum swings in the second half.

    New Orleans opened the third quarter with a 14-0 run to take a 56-53 lead. The Cavaliers quickly countered with an 11-0 run that included breakaway dunks by James and Anderson Varejao for a 69-60 lead.

    The Hornets went back ahead 76-73 with a 10-0 run over the third and fourth quarters.

    Cleveland went 6:10 without a field goal until James scored on a layup with 8:16 remaining to bring the Cavaliers within 81-77.

    "I saw us go down six and it was time to go into attack mode," James said.

    The Cavs started the game aggressively, outscoring New Orleans 24-8 in the paint in the first half. James had nine assists and McInnis six as Cleveland continually found the open man underneath for easy layups in opening a 51-39 lead 1:35 before halftime.

    "I thought we played about as soft as we could be in the first half," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We have to play 48 solid minutes."

    Game notes

    The Hornets are 1-16 overall since their only road win, 76-75 on Nov. 22 at Utah. ... Cavs F-C Robert Traylor, who missed eight games with a broken left little finger, had six points in 19 minutes in his first game back. ... The Cavs put F-C Scott Williams on the injured list with a sore left knee. ... The Hornets, already with five players on the injured list, also were without F-C Chris Andersen (food poisoning), G Junior Harrington (sore right knee) and F George Lynch (plantar fasciatis). ... Cleveland is 7-3 vs. Western Conference teams, the best record in the East. ... The Hornets are 0-9 vs. the East.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 100
    FGM-FGA 30-84 (.357) 37-73 (.507)
    3PM-3PA 8-17 (.471) 4-8 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 23-29 (.793) 22-32 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-42 9-42
    Assists 18 29
    Turnovers 13 13
    Steals 9 8
    Blocks 4 8
    Fast Break Points 11 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 12

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Lee Nailon Nailon
    Points: 18
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    LeBron James James
    Points: 22
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 14
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 1