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News » LeBron gets plenty of help as trip ends on sour note

LeBron gets plenty of help as trip ends on sour note

LeBron gets plenty of help as trip ends on sour note CLEVELAND - LeBron James did what LeBron James does.

The problem for the Mavericks on Saturday night was that Anderson Varejao, Delonte West and Mo Williams also did what LeBron James does.

Too many Cleveland Cavaliers making all sorts of high-end plays, an utter failure to rebound the ball and defense that was a step slow all night led to a 111-95 Mavericks loss at Quicken Loans Arena, putting a lousy punctuation on an otherwise fun road trip.

The Cavaliers shot 68.4 percent in the first half and somehow were only ahead by 13 points. When the Mavericks applied just a little pressure in the third quarter and got as close as eight going into the fourth, they didn't have enough firepower to make it interesting down the stretch.

"They kicked our butt all over the place," said Jason Terry, who supported Dirk Nowitzki's 27 points with 25 but got precious little help.

The Cavaliers got 25 each from James and Williams. LeBron threw in 12 assists and Williams was perfect in seven 3-point attempts, most of them uncontested. Varejao didn't miss in his seven shots from inside the arc and had a season-best 15 points. West had his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 assists.

And about that rebounding. After outrebounding Indiana by 21 on Friday, the Mavericks didn't get past 21 boards - total - until late in the fourth quarter and finished with 24, tying the franchise low for rebounds in a game.

"To give up 68 percent field goal percentage in the first half, we were fortunate to only be 13 behind," Rick Carlisle said. "We got caught ball-watching too many times. Cuts for layups, catches that led to another pass for an open 3 - we just played probably as poor a defensive half as we played all year. And you can't do that against a team like this that's so good on its home floor.

"Giving up 60-percent field goal percentage on the last game of a trip leaves a sour taste in your mouth. I loved the way we played in Houston and Indiana, but this was a stinker."

The Mavericks finished 2-1 on the trip but finished a four-game, five-night stretch with only a 2-2 record since it started with the loss at home against lowly Golden State.

"For us, we just got to figure out how to be consistent," Jason Kidd said. "That's pretty much the question for us."

LeBron mulling dunk contest: Tickets for All-Star Saturday at American Airlines Center in February figure to be tougher to come by than for the actual All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium because there will be about 80,000 fewer of them.

It'll be an even hotter ticket if LeBron James commits to the slam-dunk contest. But that's a leap he's not yet ready to make, although he certainly left the door open.

"I'm undecided right now," James said after Saturday's win. "I feel like if there's enough hype around it and I feel like it's a good opportunity to have some fun with the fans and show the world what I can do as far as jumping ability, then I'll give it a try.

"Hopefully I'll stay injury free. I don't want to go out there if I'm not 100 percent. So we'll see."

James was asked if the dunk show's rise in prominence the last few years might make it something that he'd want to do at least once in his life. "I don't think so," he answered. "If you decide you want to do it, go ahead. But it's not something everyone should do."

Briefly: The Mavericks had a horrible first quarter. They allowed 22 points in the paint to the Cavs. And how many did the Mavericks score? Zero. The final points-in-the-paint count: 54-26, Cleveland. ... Drew Gooden on the juxtaposition of the Mavericks and Cavaliers Saturday: "They were coming off a tough loss in Charlotte and were ready to play. We were coming off a blowout win in Indiana and thought we could shoot lights-out again, and it just didn't happen."

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Added: December 1, 2009


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