James outplays Anthony, Nuggets | SummitDaily.com

James outplays Anthony, Nuggets

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND – A bruised shin didn’t stop LeBron James from leading the Cavaliers out of a slump or cheerfully singing in the locker room afterward.James scored 26 points and got enough help from his teammates to lead Cleveland past the Denver Nuggets 94-85 on Thursday night.James bruised his left shin and hobbled to the locker room with 29 seconds left in the first half. He came back with the shin wrapped for support.He also got support from Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall.Jones scored 17 points and Marshall 11. Both hit big 3-pointers as the Cavaliers ended a three-game losing streak.”Huge win,” Marshall said. “You always want to come out of a slump. It’s better to come out of a slump against a good team that’s playing well.”The Nuggets had won four of five, and Carmelo Anthony was coming off a career-high 42 points in a victory over Charlotte on Tuesday night. Anthony scored 23 to lead Denver but shot just 8-of-23.Greg Buckner added 15 points and Earl Watson 14 for the Nuggets, who shot 38 percent to Cleveland’s 53 percent.”We got stops and made shots when it counted,” James said. “When you hold a team to 38 percent from the field you give yourself a pretty good chance of winning.”James ended a stretch of six games with 30 or more points. That could be good news for the Cavaliers, who went 1-5 with him carrying the load.James, who declared that the team was in a funk following Tuesday night’s loss to Atlanta, added nine assists, including a no-look pass to Alan Henderson that thrilled the crowd.Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 points and gave Cleveland a presence inside with three blocks after missing one game with a sprained right knee.Marshall hit a 3-pointer to cap a 12-4 run for an 83-76 lead with 3:46 left as the Cavaliers took control. He made another with 1:51 left to finish off Denver.”I blame it on the NBA game being too long,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “We played well for 42, 43 minutes. We ran out of gas a little.”Marshall, who also had a season-high 12 rebounds, was 2-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc. Jones went 5-of-11.”It was a testament to our ability to share the basketball,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. “Those guys are shooters. That’s what they do.”Despite his injury, James still showed quickness, stealing an inbounds pass for an easy slam to end the third quarter with Cleveland ahead 66-65.”It really didn’t bother me,” said James, adding that he originally got hurt running into Atlanta’s Royal Ivey on Tuesday night. “Andre (Miller) kneed me in the shin. I just have to take care of it and see how it reacts Saturday (against Miami).”James played the entire second half and said if he had sat out it likely would have stiffened up.The Nuggets were without Marcus Camby, inactive with a sprained right pinkie finger. Camby is second in scoring for Denver, averaging 16.8 points per game.Francisco Elson, who started in Camby’s place, kept missing open jumpers, shooting 1-for-5 for two points.Earl Boykins also missed his second game with a left hamstring strain.”We’ve been fighting with injuries all year,” Anthony said. “So we’ve got to do what we did tonight, go with who’s going to go out there and play.”Neither team could establish control early as the Nuggets opened with a 17-7 lead, then missed their next 11 shots as the Cavaliers put together a 22-2 run.James took a breather and the Nuggets started a 14-0 run to go up 39-33 late in the first half. The Cavaliers were ahead 44-40 at halftime, led by James’ 17 points.Notes: Camby is day-to-day and will be a game-time decision Friday night at New Jersey. … James leads all Eastern Conference players with 665,849 votes in the first All-Star returns. … Former Cavaliers guard Miller handed out tickets to more than 20 family members and friends. … Denver leads Cleveland 3-2 in the LeBron vs. Carmelo era. James has led the Cavaliers in scoring in the last four matchups.