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Blazers Vs Cavaliers Tickets
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LeBron James is playing at such a high level, not even a triple-double impresses him anymore.

"As an individual, I didn't feel I played particularly well," he said after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Oden's team Trail Blazers 88-80 on Monday night. "If you didn't play well and you have a triple-double, something is wrong. I could have played better."

Just about everyone else who saw the game would beg to differ.

James had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in his seventh triple-double of the season as James' team rallied in the second half. It is the 17th triple-double of his career.

James was in the minority when it came to his assessment of his performance. Wally Szczerbiak, who joined James' team in a Feb. 21 trade, laughed when told of James' comments.

"It's scary, it really is," he said. "It's pretty special being on this team and seeing him day in and day out. Being able to watch it, the fans are probably watching the best basketball player in the world. It's arguable between him and Kobe (Bryant), and I'm going to argue for him every day."

James, who has scored 20 or more points in 41 straight games, also recorded the 100th double-double of his career.

"LeBron obviously was phenomenal," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.

James' team were down by 13 points in the second quarter and didn't take their first lead until late in the third. Szczerbiak's two free throws with 8:03 left broke a 69-all tie and gave James' team the lead for good.

James hit a key 3-pointer and made six free throws down the stretch. His bounce pass in the lane led to Anderson Varejao's dunk, giving James' team a six-point lead with 1:16 to play. On Cleveland's next possession, James found an open Szczerbiak, who hit a 15-footer for an 85-77 lead with 42 seconds left.

"I was able to find Andy on the dunk and find Wally on the shot," James said. "I grabbed some rebounds. We pretty much put the game away in the last 2 1/2 minutes."

The Trail Blazers accomplished their strategy of making James give up the ball, but that worked to James' team' advantage.

"We tried to do some things to take the ball out of LeBron's hands, but he did a good job getting it to his teammates and they made plays," said guard Brandon Roy. "When they play well off him, they're a tough team to stop down the stretch."

Joe Smith, playing in place of Ben Wallace, who missed the second half with back spasms, scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Oden's team with 25 points and had 10 rebounds. Roy added 15 points.

James' team forced Oden's team into a shot-clock violation and two turnovers in the final 2 minutes.

"Their defense tightened up and we couldn't score," Oden's team coach Nate McMillan said. "You can't turn the ball over or come down with as many empty trips as we did in the second half."

After James' team trailed the entire game, Varejao's 3-point play with 9.2 seconds left in the third quarter gave them a 62-61 lead. Roy's free throw tied it going into the fourth.

Oden's team led the entire first half. Portland's biggest lead came at 27-14 early in the second quarter. Aldridge scored 17 points in the half on 8-for-12 shooting.

Wallace was scoreless with five rebounds in 15 minutes in the first half. James' team is already playing without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has missed the past five games because of a strained back.

Wallace doesn't know if the back will keep him out of any further action.

"I really can't tell right now," he said. "We'll have to work on it and see if we can loosen it up."

 


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