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Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011

James, Wade send woeful Cavs to 21st straight loss

MIAMI (AP) Once again, LeBron James helped the Cleveland Cavaliers reach a milestone in the NBA standings.

News photo
Rubbing it in: Miami's LeBron James is defended by Cleveland's Anthony Parker on Monday night. The Heat beat the Cavaliers 117-90. AP PHOTO

First to 40 wins one year.

First to 40 losses the next.

Dwyane Wade scored 26 of his 34 points in the first half, James finished with 24 points and eight assists and the Miami Heat beat the Cavaliers for the third time since the two-time MVP changed cities, winning 117-90 Monday night to hand Cleveland its 21st straight loss — as many as it dropped in the entire 2009-10 regular season.

Cleveland (8-40) is now two losses shy of tying the single-season NBA futility streak record shared by the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets. Overall, the Cavaliers have lost 31 of 32 games, along with 24 straight on the road.

"I have nothing bad to say about the players that I left and the team," James said. "I wish the organization the best. And I wish the fans, more than anything, the best because we had a lot of great years together."

They might be hard-pressed to remember those now.

This game had a few moments of hope for Cleveland. It was down by 19 in the first half, when Wade was almost unguardable for stretches — one of his dunks, off a pass from James, was so spectacular that rap moguls Sean "Diddy" Combs and Rick Ross leaped from their courtside seats.

Quietly, Cleveland started putting together good stretch after good stretch, getting within 70-67 in the third quarter.

Was this going to be the night?

Not a chance.

James had nine points in a 19-5 run to close the third quarter, Miami's lead was 89-72 entering the fourth, and it turned into a romp from there.

"We played pretty good in the third quarter," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. "I thought they just took it to another gear. They've got the type of team that can do that."

The Heat (34-14) moved within 2 1/2 games of Boston for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 12 points and a season-high 14 rebounds against his former team, Eddie House also scored 12 and Chris Bosh added 10 points for Miami.

For Cleveland, Antawn Jamison finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Manny Harris scored 20 points and J.J. Hickson added 14.

Wade hit 10 of his first 12 shots, the third straight game for him with a sizzling start. James had 15 in the first half.

Pacers 104, Raptors 93

In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 11 rebounds to help Indiana beat the Raptors in Frank Vogel's debut as Pacers interim coach.

The 37-year-old Vogel replaced Jim O'Brien, who was fired on Sunday. Vogel said he would allow Hibbert to play through his mistakes, and the 218-cm center rewarded his new coach with his highest-scoring game since Nov. 28.

Nets 115, Nuggets 99

In Newark, N.J., Brook Lopez scored 27 points and Devin Harris had a career-high 18 assists as the Nets gave Carmelo Anthony an indication why he might want to play for New Jersey with a win over the Nuggets.

The game was the first between the teams since Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told his team to halt extended trade talks with Denver for Anthony a little less than two weeks ago, saying the drawn-out negotiations were hurting his team.

Grizzlies 100, Magic 97

In Memphis, Mike Conley scored 26 points and had a key steal late, and Jason Richardson missed a 12-meter shot at the buzzer as the Grizzlies defeated Orlando.

Mavericks 102, Wizards 92

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, Tyson Chandler added 18 points and 18 rebounds, and the Mavericks stretched their winning streak to five games with a victory over Washington, keeping the Wizards winless on the road.

Jazz 83, Bobcats 78

In Salt Lake City, Al Jefferson scored 21 points, Paul Millsap added 12 rebounds and the short-handed Jazz blocked 10 shots to hold off Charlotte.

Clippers 105, Bucks 98

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 32 points and 11 rebounds for his 39th double-double, and the Clippers withstood a fourth-quarter challenge to beat the Milwaukee for their ninth straight home win.

Los Angeles tied the third-longest consecutive home victory streak in franchise history set when the team was known as the Buffalo Braves and won nine in a row from Oct. 22-Nov. 23, 1974.

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