LeBron's triple double leads Cavs; Pierce nets 50

BOSTON (AP) -- LeBron James and the streaking Cleveland Cavaliers

spoiled the highest-scoring game by a Celtics' player in more than

16 years.

James had 43 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth

triple-double of the season and the Cavaliers overcame Paul

Pierce's 50-point performance to beat the Celtics 113-109 in double

overtime on Wednesday night.

Drew Gooden added 19 points and 11 rebounds and Damon Jones had

13 points for Cleveland.

Pierce shot 17-for-36 from the field and 16-for-20 from the

free-throw line to become the first Celtic to score 50 since Larry

Bird had 50 on Nov. 10, 1989.

"I really got into a groove in the second half," Pierce said.

"Guys were getting the ball to me. It felt good to me. You know,

it would have felt a lot better if we would have been on the other

side, but it was just a great game to be a part."

Cleveland (31-21) matched its 52-game record from last year.

While the Cavaliers closed last season 11-19 and missed the

playoffs, this year's team enters the All-Star break in second

place in the Central Division.

Cleveland coach Mike Brown said this is a game the Cavaliers

would have lost last year.

"We're not a good road team and so any way we can win on the

road, we'll take it," Brown said. "It was a character win because

we could have folded."

The Celtics trailed by as many as 13, but Pierce scored 31

points after the first half to keep the game close before fouling

out with a minute remaining in the second overtime. Boston (20-32)

lost its seventh game in nine tries.

James, coming off a 44-point performance against San Antonio on

Monday night, drew Pierce's final foul with 1:00 remaining and made

1-of-2 free throws to put the Cavaliers up 109-107.

On Cleveland's next possession, James sealed the game with a

layup in traffic.

"We just made the big play at the end," James said. "We just

willed a way to win. This was one of the wildest games, especially

on the road. But I love it. Being on the road, you got the fans

against you and we found a way to win. It was awesome."

Wally Szczerbiak scored 17 points and Delonte West added 15

points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Celtics.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points for Cleveland, but missed a

pair of free throws with 7.1 seconds remaining in regulation that

would have iced the game.

Following Ilgauskas' misses, Pierce drew a foul on James with

0.2 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to send the game

into overtime.

Cleveland was just 25-of-40 from the free-throw line.

"It was a winnable game," West said. "This one is tough to


After a pair of Ryan Gomes layups gave the Celtics a 90-88 lead

with 1:54 remaining, James hit a layup in traffic to tie the game.

James then deflected a pass to Pierce, raced down the floor,

received an Eric Snow pass at the free-throw line and threw down a

slam dunk over West to put the Cavaliers up 92-90 with 1:23 left.

Damon Jones made 1-of-2 free throws with 26.4 seconds remaining

and James blocked a West 3-point attempt in the closing seconds.

James was outscored by Pierce 17-6 in the fourth quarter and

missed a potential game-winning layup in the closing seconds of the

first overtime before redeeming himself in the second overtime.

"This is a team win, but it goes back to LeBron James coming up

big for us," Brown said. "He's a heck of a player and he

definitely helped us get this win tonight."

Game notes
The Cavaliers won in Boston for just the second time in 14

tries. ...James has eight career triple-doubles. ... West was

selected to replace Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson on the

sophomore team in the 2006 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. Nelson will

miss the game with a sprained right foot. ...The Celtics haven't

won more than two consecutive games this season. ...The Celtics are

2-1 with Gomes in the starting lineup.