LeBron held to eight as Blazers coast

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- LeBron James doesn't expect to have too

many nights like this. The Cleveland Cavaliers can only hope he's


The celebrated rookie shot just 3-for-12 and scored eight points

with six assists in Cleveland's 104-85 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

"Tonight was just one of those nights when nothing was really

falling for me," said James, who had scored more than 20 points in

each of his first two starts. "So you've just got to tough it


Zach Randolph had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Jeff McInnis

came off the bench to score 15 points in the home opener for the

Blazers, who got off to a slow start but eventually led by as many

as 25.

At the start of the game, the Blazers put 5-foot-10 point guard

Damon Stoudamire on the 6-8, 240-pound James, the NBA's top draft

pick. Stoudamire pestered James, who had just two points and three

assists in the first half.

In the season-opener Wednesday against Sacramento, James scored

12 points in the first quarter and finished with 25. The following

night in Phoenix, he had 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

"LeBron just wasn't LeBron tonight. It just wasn't there,"

Cleveland coach Paul Silas said. "He was a little fatigued. I

think three games in four nights is a little tough on anybody."

Confident even after his first tough outing in the NBA, LeBron

was asked whether he anticipated some off-nights: "I don't expect

it," he said.

James remains the team's top scorer, averaging 18 points and 7.3


"He probably didn't have his greatest game against us, which is

very fortunate, but you can see he has an overall knowledge of the

game," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said.

The Blazers, who lost their season opener at Utah, seized the

lead midway through the first half and were ahead the rest of the


Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 21 points for the struggling Cavaliers,

who have lost their first three games. Ricky Davis added 16 points

and eight rebounds.

Cleveland went ahead 15-6 on a layup by Davis, but the Blazers

chipped away, taking a 25-23 lead on McInnis' jumper early in the

second quarter. Rasheed Wallace and Qyntel Woods added unanswered

3-pointers to make it 31-23 Portland.

The Blazers led 54-39 at the break and added to their advantage

when Stoudamire opened the second half with a 3-pointer. Portland

extended its lead to 90-69 midway through the fourth quarter on a

3-pointer by Qyntel Woods.

James' subpar effort didn't stop the crowd from cheering the

18-year-old star. Flashbulbs twinkled throughout the Rose Garden

each time he threatened to score.

"He didn't score like he probably wanted to, but he played

pretty good. Damon really got in on him," Blazers guard Bonzi Wells said. "As point guard, Damon causes a lot of havoc on guards

because he's so quick and he can steal."

Long before the game, a large group of children gathered at

courtside hoping for James' autograph. "Mr. James! Mr. James!"

they shouted.

"It's crazy," James said about the attention, "but it's a

dream come true for me."

Cleveland's home opener is Wednesday against Denver, a showdown

between James and Nuggets rookie Carmelo Anthony.

The Blazers have won their last five meetings with the


Game notes
Blazers guard Derek Anderson did not play because of a sore

back. Anderson missed the opener and six preseason games because of

back spasms. ... The Blazers on Friday exercised their option on

Randolph, extending his contract through the 2004-05 season. ...

The Cavaliers have won just 13 of 47 games in Portland. ... It was

Maurice Cheeks' 100th victory as coach of the Trail Blazers.