MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - LeBron James was the only healthy
frontcourt player for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He was more than enough.
James had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second
triple-double of the season, leading the Cavaliers to a 102-87
victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
With Zydrunas Ilgauskas sidelined by a fractured left ankle and
Ben Wallace out with the flu, Cleveland was missing 40 percent of
its starting lineup.
James scored only nine points in the opening half, then had 17
in the third quarter and completed his triple-double - to his
surprise - with a behind-the-back pass to J.J. Hickson for a layup
in the fourth.
"I had no idea," James said. "The first time I knew was when
I got the stat sheet. I'm just out there playing. Two of our guys
are out so everyone had to step up, including myself."
Delonte West added 19 points and Mo Williams 16 for the Cavs.
Anderson Varejao was held to seven points and four rebounds after
averaging 16 points and eight boards the past four games in place
Cleveland coach Mike Brown was impressed that James didn't force
anything to make up for the absent teammates.
"It's not just about jacking up 3s and taking bad shots,"
Brown said. "It's about attacking the basket. LeBron has had this
type of game before. He played a different way tonight by taking it
upon himself to get this team scoring the right way."
Kyle Lowry led the Grizzlies with a career-high 25 points,
including 15 from the free throw line, and reserve Hakim Warrick
had 16 points and seven rebounds. Rookie guard O.J. Mayo was
limited to six points, a season-low.
The Grizzlies also got 13 points in 13 minutes from Darius
Miles, who signed a 10-day contract Saturday and is one game away
from reaching the 10 appearances that would put the remaining $18
million of his salary back on Portland's payroll.
Cleveland trailed for only a minute in the first half and
stretched a 10-point lead at the end of the third quarter to as
many as 20 points in the fourth. The Cavs shot 53 percent,
including 57 percent from 3-point range, in their 30th victory of
the season. The Cavaliers became the fourth team to reach 30 wins,
joining Boston, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.
"They made their push in the third quarter and it made it
difficult for us to get back in it," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni
said. "We struggled with containing LeBron James on the high
Memphis dropped its fourth straight and lost for the 12th time
in 14 games.
"We've got to battle and find a way to win games," Lowry said.
"I don't know what it is. We just seem like when we get hit, we
get hit hard. We try to bounce back, but the balls keep bouncing
the wrong way."
The Grizzlies started slowly, missing their first five shots to
fall behind 7-0. After having not led at any point during
back-to-back losses entering the game, Memphis recovered to lead
briefly, 13-12. It was20the Grizzlies' only lead.
With James allowing his teammates to take most of the shots in
the first half, the Cavaliers never built more than a nine-point
lead. The Grizzlies made a run late in the second quarter as Lowry
and Warrick fueled an 11-4 spurt that closed the gap to 47-44 at
"I was taking what the defense gave me in the first half,"
James said. "I play the game the right way. I let the game come to
me. I took advantage of it in the third quarter."
Notes: Grizzlies rookie forward Darrell Arthur started and played
10 minutes in the first half before leaving the game with a
hamstring injury. He did not return. ... Memphis native Lorenzen
Wright, who played at the University of Memphis, made his first
start of the season for Cleveland. Wright, playing in his 11th
game, started for Wallace. ... James received a technical foul in
the first for hanging on the rim and slapping the backboard.
The Grizzlies get back in Action Friday night at home against the Utah Jazz in FedExForum.