BOSTON - LeBron James had 36 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, Mo Williams scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers surged past the Boston Celtics, 108-88, on Thursday night.
James kept the Cavaliers in it for three quarters on a night they lost Shaquille O’Neal to a first-half thumb injury, then Williams made four 3-pointers when Cleveland blew by the Celtics in the fourth, outscoring them 35-14.
Unable to stop Rajon Rondo or the Celtics in the first quarter, the Cavaliers turned up the defense in the fourth, limiting the Celtics to three baskets.
Ray Allen scored 21 points, and Rondo had 19 points and 11 assists for the Celtics, who badly missed injured All-Star Paul Pierce (right thumb) when their offense went stagnant in the final 11/2 quarters.
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Cleveland outscored Boston 60-32 in the second half, allowing just five baskets during the final 171/2 minutes.
O’Neal appeared to be hurt when Celtics forward Glen Davis whacked his hand while trying to block a shot with about 71/2 minutes to go in the second quarter.