Cleveland-Denver: Cavs Find Gold In Denver, Beat Nuggets 105-88

Eric MoonContributor IDecember 19, 2008

LeBron James now owns a little bragging rights over his close friend Carmelo Anthony, as the Cleveland Cavaliers sweep the series against the Denver Nuggets, beating them 105-88 at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Friday night.

"We see each other so much in the offseason that we don't want to hear the trash talking," James said. "So we play hard against each other. If you were just watching the game you would never think we were friends. I got him this time. I got him this year."

It was a good road test for the Cavaliers as there are many doubters out there not believing in the Cavs claiming they have a soft schedule. Bottom line to that is you beat the teams your suppose to and the difference this year is the Cavs are actually doing that.

Cleveland (22-4) is definitely a championship caliber team and has opened the eyes of the naysayers. The Cavs have now have won 21 out of the last 23 games.

"I think this is a statement game. We wanted to make that statement," James said. "We knew we were coming into a hostile environment, a team that had been playing just as hot as us, just as hot as Boston and just as hot as the Lakers. We made a statement and came in here and took care of business."

King James has shown the world why his team is worthy of the recognition. He doesn't have to do it all by himself, he has the help of his friends. The Cavs welcomed back the man in the middle Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was out for three games with an ankle sprain.

Big Z hitting two-of-three from three-point land finished with 23 points and six rebounds, while Delonte West added 22, both season-highs. With the rotation head coach Mike Brown has it allows him to put shooters on the floor to open up lanes for James to operate and that the King did.

James finished with a game high 33 on 13-of-20 shooting and added 10 rebounds and eight assist. Anthony was held to 13 points on just five-of-14 shooting, also fouled out in 29 minutes of action. Chauncey Billups led the Nuggets with 16.

Denver (17-9) has lost back-to-back games for the first time since the trade that sent Allen Iverson to Detroit for Billups.

The Cavs came out like a team on a mission, missing their first three shots the Cavs started blazing the nets hitting on the next 15-of-17 shots to take a 37-21 lead after a period of play.

The largest lead of the game was 22 for the Cavs at 54-32 on a West jump shot. Denver was able to go on a mini run to cut the lead to 64-53 at the half.

The Cavs defense pestered and flustered the Nuggets in the second half holding them scoreless over a five-minute stretch and they finished with only 12 points in the quarter.

"To hold this team in this building to 88 points on 43 percent shooting is phenomenal," said coach Brown. "I have to give my entire team credit for doing that. Especially that third quarter. I think the last 10 1/2 minutes they scored eight points. That's unheard of."

The Cavs now will finish up the four-game road trip on Sunday facing the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-24). Then will come home to face Houston on Tuesday and Washington on Thursday followed by a home-and-home against Miami.