LEBRON STARS AS CAVS WIN EIGHTH IN A ROW
-Oghene Egwero (R) competes in heat 2 of the men's 60m semi-final at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships. He will not be competing in Kaduna
LeBron James led Cleveland to an eighth consecutive victory as he scored 38 points in the Cavaliers' 105-92 away win over the New Orleans Hornets.
James tallied five of his nine assists in the third quarter, where the league-leading Cavaliers (57-15) went on a 16-4 run to build a 16-point lead.
“They picked us apart defensively,” said Hornets forward David West.
“I think LeBron was able to get himself going and getting other guys (involved). When they're doing that, it's tough to beat them.” Second-year forward J. J Hickson scored 20 for the Cavaliers, who welcomed back centre Zydrunas Ilgauskas for the first time since he was traded to Washington last month before being released and re-signing with Cleveland.
Marcus Thornton led the Hornets (34-39) with 20 points.
Chris Paul had five points in his second game back following a 25-game absence due to a knee injury.
New Orleans has lost four of five games and are almost certain to miss out on the playoffs while the Cavaliers move closer to posting the best record throughout the regular season for the second successive year.
Cleveland controlled the game from the outset and shot 57 per cent from the floor.
James himself made 15-of-22 shots, Delonte West had 15 points off the bench and Antawn Jamison put up 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Jamison was acquired in a deal that temporarily shipped out Ilgauskas, but the 7ft-3in center is back with the team he has spent his entire 11-year career.
“I tried not to force anything,” Ilgauskas said after finishing 0-for-2 with his one point coming from a free throw.
“I felt like I was in space, the floor was very huge for me today. I expect it to shrink up with each game.” New Orleans stayed within striking distance until midway through the third where the Cavaliers pulled away.
Paul had seven assists and played 31 minutes, 10 more than he saw in his return on Monday. Rookie point guard Darren Collison proved more effective, however, adding 17 points and seven assists.