Tuesday , Jan , 24 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Cavs pound Pacers; Artest trade called off

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James netted a game-high 23 points,
pulled down seven rebounds and dished out eight assists, as the Cleveland
Cavaliers pounded the Indiana Pacers, 96-66, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Adding insult to injury, Indiana star forward Jermaine O’Neal left the rout
with 9:30 remaining in the game with an apparent ankle injury and did not
return.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 18 points and hauled in nine rebounds while Drew
Gooden totaled 14 points and 10 boards for Cleveland, which has won two
straight since dropping six in a row.

Stephen Jackson led his team with 17 points, but all of them came in the first
half for the Pacers, who have dropped four straight. Danny Granger posted
12 points and 11 rebounds and O’Neal finished with seven points and 15 boards.

Indiana appeared to have solved the Ron Artest situation prior to the game, as
the malcontent forward had reportedly been traded to Sacramento for Peja
Stojakovic. That scenario apparently fell apart, however, because Artest did
not want to play for the Kings.

“As I have said before, until there is a deal completed we do not have a
deal,” said Pacers president and CEO Donnie Walsh. “We do not have a deal and
will not comment on any premature reports regarding a trade involving Ron
Artest.”

Indiana, with all of its issues, trailed just 42-38 at the break, but
Cleveland exploded for a 23-2 run early in the third quarter to assume a 67-42
lead after a pair of Ilgauskus free throws.

The Pacers would never get back in the game.

Indiana committed 18 turnovers in the contest and shot just 32.5 percent from
the floor. Even more alarming, the Pacers sank only 10 of their 24 free-throw
attempts.

Cleveland, meanwhile, shot nearly 43 percent from behind the arc and outscored
the Pacers in the paint, 32-22.

Game Notes

Cavs guard Eric Snow left the game with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter
with an ankle injury and did not return…This was the lowest scoring output
for the Pacers this season…Cleveland has won seven straight games against
the Central Division…The Cavs are 15-5 at home.

CLE IND