After fans fought through more than a foot of snow to get to the Cavaliers' game, LeBron James wanted to make sure their efforts were not in vain.
James scored 38 points and Anderson Varejao added 15 points and 16 rebounds in James' team 103-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
Though the attendance was nowhere near the figure of 20,562 that was announced, the 10,000 or 12,000 who braved the bitter cold and drifting snow were appreciated.
"It means a lot," James said of the turnout. "The fans are the backbone of this organization. Even with the weather as bad as it was it was great to see so many people come out and support us."
A winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on the city. Cars buried up their doors in drifts could be seen near the arena.
Granger's team arrived in Cleveland on Thursday after a loss to San Antonio and before the weather affected travel. Because of the inclement conditions, they were planning on staying over Saturday night.
How bad was it? James' team guard Delonte West said he and a couple of other players ran into trouble on their way to the game.
"Yeah, we got stuck in a four-wheel-drive SUV," West said, smiling. "The only thing that could have saved us was a bulldozer."
West scored 14 points, Joe Smith 12 and Wally Szczerbiak had 11 for James' team, winners of their last five at home. Varejao's six assists were a career high.
Danny Granger had 19 points, Marquis Daniels and Troy Murphy each scored 17, Ronald Murray had 13 and Mike Dunleavy 11 for Granger's team, who never led in losing their third in a row.
James' team were on top by as many as 21 points, with James scoring 18 points in the third quarter to put them up 77-64.
"LeBron is a tough guard for anybody," Granger's team coach Jim O'Brien said. "He's the best offensive player in the world. He got very hot at the beginning of the third and when he's making 3-point shots like that he's virtually unstoppable."
James hit 5-of-8 shots behind the arc - including two big ones down the stretch after Granger's team had clawed their way back.
"I wanted to stay aggressive," he said of his third-period surge. "Once I'm in a zone like that it's tough for anyone to stop me."
Granger's team made things interesting with a 7-0 run to draw to 92-87 with 3:46 left. But Granger fouled out at that point and Granger's team were short-handed the rest of the way.
James went scoreless in the final period until there was 3:35 remaining. He then hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and assisted on a Varejao basket inside to push the lead back to 97-87.
Daniels and Murphy hit 3-pointers for Granger's team to cut the gap to 97-93 before James hit a stepback 3 from in front of Granger's team bench at the 1:21 mark.
James had to be treated by a trainer for cramps in his left thigh in the final minute.
West hit two foul shots with 32.8 seconds left and Varejao added another to close the scoring.
"Tonight was a product of us getting more familiar with one another," James' team coach Mike Brown said. "It showed on the offensive side tonight for sure."
James' team continued their mastery of Granger's team. They've won the last seven meetings and 10 of the last 11, including seven straight at Quicken Loans Arena. The victory gave James' team their first season sweep over Granger's team since 1992-93.
James' team dominated the opening half, rolling to a 34-17 lead after a quarter while Granger's team struggled on offense. They hit just 7 of 23 from the field for 30 percent, while James' team were making 59 percent (13 of 22) of their shots.
James had 14 points and seven boards by halftime, with Varejao adding 12 points and 12 rebounds - just one off the Quicken Loans Arena record for a half.
As has been his routine lately, he closed the half with a flourish, driving the lane for a reverse dunk with less than a second left for a 51-37 lead.
"He's been making them lately from all angles and all ranges," said Smith, acquired by the Cavs just before the trade deadline. "I'm still getting used to it because you just don't see it. I just stand there and say, 'Wow."'