CLEVELAND - LeBron James made sure nothing was stolen from home.
Cleveland's all-star scored 25 of his 36 points in the second half, and the Cavaliers, drawing from tough lessons learned in last year's playoffs, beat the New Jersey Nets, 102-92, last night to open a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
James added 12 assists and Sasha Pavlovic scored a career playoff-high 17 points for the Cavaliers, who later this week will head to New Jersey for Game 3 with a commanding lead in the best-of-seven series.
This is unfamiliar territory for Cleveland, which has never been up by two games in the semifinals. But with James around, anything could be possible for the Cavs, who have never been to the NBA Finals.
The Nets had hoped to slip out of town with at least one win, and although they shot well enough (53 percent) to get it, they were outrebounded by 49-32 by the Cavs, who also kept several possessions alive by outhustling New Jersey.
Vince Carter scored 26 points to lead the Nets, but for the second straight game he struggled from the floor. Carter was just 10 for 26 and missed two key shots in the final two minutes, when New Jersey was still close.
Richard Jefferson scored 22 and Jason Kidd had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists for the Nets.
Monday's late game
Jazz 116, Warriors 112
SALT LAKE CITY - Carlos Boozer put back an offensive rebound with 17 seconds left to break a tie and Matt Harpring added two free throws 10 seconds later, lifting Utah over Golden State in Monday's opener of the Western semifinals.
Boozer scored 17 points and pulled down 20 rebounds, getting his last after Mehmet Okur's three-pointer bounced off the rim to Boozer in the lane for the go-ahead basket and a 114-112 advantage.
Stephen Jackson tried to put the Warriors back ahead with a three-pointer, but it was short, and Harpring ended up with the rebound after a scrum in the lane. Harpring made both shots, and the Warriors didn't have time to make up the deficit.
Deron Williams finished with 31 points and eight assists and Okur had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Utah, which outrebounded the Warriors by 54-36. Andrei Kirilenko had seven blocked shots for the Jazz, who host Game 2 today.