Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The NBA roundup …
CLEVELAND ó LeBron James and a few of his teammates hung around after their postgame showers and watched the final minutes of Boston’s game against Houston on TV.
They’ll see the Celtics in person soon enough.
The NBA champions are coming. The Cavaliers are ready.
James scored 21 points before grabbing an early seat on the bench, Mo Williams added 15 and Cleveland warmed up for its highly anticipated matchup with Boston by blowing out the Charlotte Bobcats 111-81 on Wednesday night, raising the Cavaliers’ record at home to 18-0.
19-0 isn’t a given.
On Friday, the Celtics will arrive for a game pitting the Eastern Conference’s premier powers, a rematch of last season’s heated seven-game conference semifinal and a possible tease of what could come this spring. Boston holds a 1-0 edge this season after beating Cleveland 90-85 at home in its opener, when the green-and-white raised their 17th title banner beforehand as the Cavs waited in their locker room.
It’s only January, but it will feel like June.
“I can’t sit here and say it’s another game,” James said. “We’re just looking forward to the challenge. If we want to be the best team, we have to beat the best. Boston is the best until somebody takes their crown.”
Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak scored 15 apiece and Anderson Varejao 14 as Cleveland shot 60 percent from the floor and improved to 28-6.
Raymond Felton led Charlotte with 15 points and Gerald Wallace had 14 for the Bobcats, who went 0-3 against the Cavs this season losing by an average of 22 points per game.
“We never competed a lick,” coach Larry Brown said. “There’s some players that some of our guys play against they don’t think they have a chance. If you look at our history, maybe that’s why you don’t win. You don’t expect to win. The first minute of the game, you look out there and feel like you’ve got no chance. It’s disappointing.”
Rockets 89, Celtics 85
BOSTON ó Now the Celtics are losing at home, too.
Von Wafer hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to give Houston the lead and the Rockets beat Boston 89-85 on Wednesday night.
It was the sixth loss in eight games for the defending NBA champions.
Raptors 99, Wizards 93
WASHINGTON ó Andrea Bargnani scored 25 points, and Chris Bosh added 18 for Toronto, down to nine players after trading Hassan Adams to the Los Angeles Clippers in a money-saving move earlier in the day.
Antawn Jamison scored a season-high 32 points for Washington.
Nets 100, Grizzlies 89
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Vince Carter had 25 points and a season-high 12 assists, and New Jersey won its third straight at home.
Memphis rookie O.J. Mayo scored 26 points, and Rudy Gay had 23.
Magic 106, Hawks 102
ATLANTA ó Dwight Howard had 23 points and 19 rebounds for Orlando in a matchup of the top two teams in the Southeast Division.
Timberwolves 129, Thunder 87
MINNEAPOLIS ó Randy Foye matched his career high with 32 points in just three quarters and Minnesota won its fourth straight game.
76ers 110, Bucks 105
MILWAUKEE ó Andre Miller hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left, and finished wih 28 points and nine rebounds for Philadelphia.
Pacers 113, Suns 100
PHOENIX ó Danny Granger matched a career high with 37 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Indiana Pacers a 113-110 victory over Phoenix.
Nuggets 108, Heat 97
DENVER ó Chauncey Billups, Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith scored 21 points apiece to help Denver win its fifth straight game.