The Cavaliers, who led by 20 points in the second quarter,
looked like they would implode late in the third quarter when
Robert Traylor and Drew Gooden were tossed for arguing Traylor's
foul on Jerry Stackhouse. Traylor threw his arm band into the
crowd, and Gooden followed by whipping his head band into the
"LeBron came up right after that and said 'I've got it,"
Cavaliers coach Brendan Malone said. "When you have a player of
his caliber saying 'I've got it,' you got it."
James played every minute for the fourth time in nine games,
including two that went to overtime, and is averaging nearly 32
points a game over that span.
"No matter how many minutes I play, I'm so determined to get to
the playoffs right now that I can't afford to get tired," said
James, who added 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The win keeps the Cavaliers (38-34) tied with Indiana for the
sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and snapped their
string of eight straight losses to Dallas.
Following the ejections, Stackhouse hit four straight free
throws to tie the game at 56. Michael Finley added a 3-pointer on
the next possession to give the Mavericks their first lead.
But Finley was flagged with a technical after getting in an
official's face over his foul on a 3-point attempt by James, who
made all four free throws to make it 60-59 at the end of the
Asked if that was the pivotal play in the game, Mavericks coach
Avery Johnson responded: "What's the next question?"
The four-point play sparked the crowd and the Cavaliers.
Ilgauskas scored eight of the next 11 points on a 13-2 run to open
the fourth quarter, making it 69-61 and securing the lead for good.
"'Z' was struggling until the fourth quarter and then he came
alive," Malone said.
Ilgauskas scored 15 of his points in the second half, and had 16
rebounds. Anderson Varejao stepped up in Gooden's absence, scoring
nine with eight rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and Stackhouse added 16. The loss
ended the Mavericks' four-game winning streak.
Cleveland held a 64-34 rebound edge and played aggressively from
the opening tip after losing to Dallas eight days ago, 117-86.
"They came out and they had payback on their mind," Mavericks
guard Jason Terry said.
After an awful shooting first half, the Mavericks climbed back
in it with a 21-5 run late in the third quarter.
Finley, who was 8-for-8 from 3-point range against Cleveland
last week, shot 3-for-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 13
points. The Mavericks were just 6-for-22 from 3-point range.
"This was a very disappointing game," Johnson said. "You
really have to give Cleveland some credit. This was their fifth
game in seven nights, and they really played well."
The Cavaliers went on a 21-4 run in the first quarter that
included three 3-pointers from James and some hustle plays by
Gooden, who finished with six points and 13 rebounds.
Cleveland opened a 38-18 lead in the second quarter, but Dallas
put together a 12-4 run to pull to 42-30 at halftime.
It was a season-low in points in a half for the Mavericks, who
shot 26 percent while missing several wide open jumpers.
The Mavericks are 7-2 since Avery Johnson replaced Don
Nelson as head coach. ... Malone is 4-4 since taking over for the
fired Paul Silas. ... Dallas had scored 110 or more points against
Cleveland in four straight games and more than 100 in their last
eight meetings. ... The Cavaliers were outscored 28-8 with
Ilgauskas off the floor. ... Ilgauskas leads the NBA in offensive
rebounds with 277. ... The Mavericks' 80 points was their
second-lowest total in the last 60 games. ... Cavaliers G Jeff
McInnis was available but didn't play.