Sat. Final: Cavs 97, Bucks 85
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- LeBron James scored 11 straight points for Cleveland late in the fourth quarter and finished with 32 in the Cavaliers' 97-85 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
James struggled much of the night, going without a field goal for more than 15 minutes in the second half before he led Cleveland on a decisive 11-2 run. He was 12-of-27 from the field and the Cavs shot a season-low 41.5 percent.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added a season-high 23 points and 17 rebounds to help Cleveland, win for the 13th time in 14 games. Michael Redd returned after missing 14 games with a right ankle sprain to lead the Bucks with 20 points in 35 minutes.
The last-place Bucks have dropped four in a row.
Cleveland never trailed and dominated Milwaukee inside, outrebounding the Bucks 53-38. The Cavaliers had 22 second-chance points to Milwaukee's seven.
James struggled much of the second half, scoring three points until his layup with 5:08 remaining made it 84-79. Two free throws and three more baskets later, including a 3-pointer, he had 14 points in the quarter, and Cleveland led 93-81.
Milwaukee had just one field goal in the final 4:51.
The Bucks never led, and Cleveland used a 13-3 run late in the second quarter to take a 54-38 lead, the Cavaliers' biggest. Ilgauskas, who had 13 points in the first half, had six points during the spurt.
The Bucks, however, outscored Cleveland 29-15 to make it a two-point game, 69-67, after a Malik Allen free throw. Redd had eight points in the third quarter to spark the rally.
Milwaukee cut the lead to two again, 79-77, following a Luke Ridnour 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, but Sasha Pavlovic responded with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 82-77 with 5:43 remaining.
James then took over in the next 3-plus minutes.
Jefferson had 19 points for Milwaukee, and Ramon Sessions had 16. Ridnour had 15 points, all in the second half.
James had 14 points in the first half. He also made his presence known on the defensive end, blocking a Sessions second-quarter layup attempt into the second row of Section 201 and almost hitting a female security guard seated nearby.
Redd averaged 21.3 points in the first four games this season before injuring his ankle against New York on Nov. 2. The Bucks went 5-9 in Redd's absence.
Milwaukee was without center Andrew Bogut, who missed his second straight game with a bone bruise on his left knee.
Notes: James had a season-high 41 points in the Bucks' first game against the Cavaliers on Nov. 11. Cleveland won 99-93. ... Ilgauskas was coming off a season-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting in Cleveland's 112-97 victory over Golden State on Friday. ... Williams was making his return to Milwaukee after being traded to the Cavaliers in a three-team trade on August 13. He played four seasons with Milwaukee and averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 assists for the Bucks last season.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)