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 visiting 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 will travel to New Jersey for Saturday's Game 3 with a commanding lead in the best-of-seven series.

"We took care of home," James said. "Now it's a challenge to go into the Meadowlands. We don't just want to win one."

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, 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 2 minutes when New Jersey was still close.

Richard Jefferson scored 22 and Jason Kidd had 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Nets.


* Randy Foye, the former Villanova star now playing with Minnesota, was among six players chosen for the league's all-rookie first team. Portland's Brandon Roy, the NBA Rookie of the Year, led all players with 58 points in voting by the league's head coaches. He was followed by Toronto's Andrea Bargnani (57 points), Foye (48), Memphis' Rudy Gay (39), Toronto's Jorge Garbajosa (37) and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (37).

The second team was led by Utah's Paul Millsap, Charlotte's Adam Morrison, Chicago's Tyrus Thomas and Minnesota's Craig Smith. Boston's Rajon Rondo, Charlotte's Walter Hermann and New Jersey's Marcus Williams were tied for the final spot on the squad.

* Indiana assistant Johnny Davis thinks he's ready for another shot as a head coach. Davis compiled a 73-144 record as a head coach with the Sixers and Orlando before coming to Indiana last season, where he served as top assistant to Rick Carlisle, who was fired last month.

Any other team would need permission to speak to Davis because he's under contract with the Pacers until June 30. Davis wouldn't talk about other openings for the same reason.

Besides Indiana, there are coaching vacancies in Memphis, Seattle, Sacramento and Charlotte, and jobs in Toronto, Houston and Orlando could eventually come open.

* A Mavericks official confirmed that the team gave assistant coach Sam Vincent permission to talk with Charlotte regarding the Bobcats' head-coaching opening.

The Bobcats are looking to replace Bernie Bickerstaff, who served as the expansion team's coach and general manager for its first 3 years. Bickerstaff is staying with the team in a front-office role. *