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Sat, Oct 31, 2009 - 7:30 PM ET
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Cavaliers easily handle Bobcats

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CLEVELAND (AP)

Delonte West scored 13 points in his delayed season debut, Mo Williams added 24 and LeBron James 14 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, back at full strength, rolled to a 90-79 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night. Williams scored 12 in the fourth quarter - all on 3-pointers - and James added nine assists and seven rebounds for the Cavs, now 2-2 after an 0-2 start. West's turbulent offseason finally brought him back to the floor. After missing all eight preseason games and Cleveland's first three of the regular season to deal with personal issues, the troubled and valuable West was cleared by team doctors, ending more than a month of drama. He went 5 of 7 from the field in 24 minutes. Vladimir Radmanovic scored 12 and D.J. Augustin 11 to lead Charlotte, which has never won in Cleveland. The Cavaliers trailed 46-45 early in the third before going on a 21-8 run - much of it with center Shaquille O'Neal on the bench - to open a 14-point lead entering the fourth. West was a factor in helping the Cavs distance themselves from the Bobcats, who were understandably exhausted after playing two overtimes on Friday night in a win over New York. James scored six straight points as Cleveland opened a 57-51 lead and West followed with his first basket of the season. Getting the ball on the right side, he gave a shoulder fake to Gerald Henderson and dropped a step-back jumper for his first basket this season. Before the third quarter closed, West made two free throws and a 3-pointer as the Cavs pushed their lead to 66-54. The Cavs are still getting used to playing with the 14-time All-Star O'Neal, who made his first free throws of the season after 10 consecutive misses. He had eight points and five rebounds in 26 minutes. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, now coming off the bench with O'Neal around, went 5 for 5 from the floor. The Bobcats clawed back within 10 in the fourth, but Williams made consecutive 3-pointers to make it 80-64 and the Cavs coasted. Coach Mike Brown subbed for West with 1:33 left and the likable guard got a huge cheer and was welcomed back to the bench by his teammates who know better than anyone what he means to the Cavs and their chances at winning an NBA title this season. West entered the game with 4:22 left in the first quarter and received a standing ovation from the Quicken Loans Arena crowd. He made an almost immediate contribution, hustling to save a ball that was going out of bounce and flipping it to James, who then fed Anderson Varejao for a dunk. West started the second quarter and came out with 6:25 left before halftime. Cavs general manager Danny Ferry has been working closely with team doctors and a support team around West. He said the decision to play West on Saturday was a consensus among all parties. "Steps were followed and this is the next step of his process," Ferry said. "We're taking it one day at a time, but he's doing well." The 26-year-old West, who has been treated in the past for bipolar disorder, was arrested in September for carrying three concealed weapons when he was pulled over by Maryland police near his home. He reported to training camp on time but missed the Cavs' first four practices without an excuse. He returned but then left the team for a week to deal with his personal matters. Last week, West's wife filed a domestic violence report against him. But that was all in the past - for at least one night. James went nearly the entire first half without a field goal. He didn't score his first basket - a 20-foot jumper - until there was only 1:21 left before halftime. More troubling than James' slow start was that the Cavs shot 63 percent (20 of 32) from the field in the first half and only led 45-41 at the break. NOTES: Charlotte is 0-10 in Cleveland and the Bobcats have lost seven straight overall to the Cavs. ... The Bobcats remain without Gs Raja Bell (sprained wrist) and Flip Murray (shin), who have yet to play this season. Coach Larry Brown said Murray may play Monday at home against New Jersey and Murray could return Friday against Atlanta.
Tagged: Cavaliers, Hornets

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