LeBron James had 36 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers surged past the host 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 Mo Williams made four 3-pointers when Cleveland blew by the Celtics in the fourth, outscoring them 35-14.

Ray Allen scored 21 points for the Celtics, who played without Paul Pierce (right thumb).

Former Celtics forward Leon Powe, a former Cal and Oakland Tech High star, made his season debut for the Cavs in the final minute of the first half. He was a key reserve on the Celtics' championship team, but he tore the ACL in his left knee during last season's playoffs and wasn't re-signed.

  • John Salmons scored 20 points, and Brandon Jennings had 18 points and seven assists to help the Milwaukee Bucks win their fifth straight game, 112-110 over the host Indiana Pacers. ... Zydrunas Ilgauskas, traded to the Wizards on Feb. 17, was waived by the club. The former Cavaliers center would be able to rejoin Cleveland in 30 days but could sign with another team immediately. ... The Sacramento Kings say forward Jason Thompson will miss up to two weeks with two fractures in his lower back. ... The Grizzlies assigned rookie 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet, last year's overall No. 2 pick, to the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League.

    Soccer


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    FC Gold Pride announced three Bay Area exhibition matches. Gold Pride kicks off its exhibition schedule with a game against Japanese team TEPCO Mareeze on March 13 (6:30 p.m.) at the Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville. Gold Pride plays host USF on March 25 (7:30 p.m.) and takes on Santa Clara at Buck Shaw Stadium on April 1 (7 p.m.) to close the exhibition schedule. ... Major League Soccer's collective bargaining agreement expired after players balked at a third short-term extension. While the union's decision left open the possibility of the league's first strike, players said they won't walk off just yet. The sides have not met since Monday's session in Washington, D.C. ... Glasgow Rangers midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu were among 20 players picked for the United States' exhibition at the Netherlands Wednesday — the last match before American coach Bob Bradley selects his World Cup roster.

    Tennis

    Top-seed Venus Williams rallied from down four games in the third set to beat qualifier Laura Pous Tio of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

    Golf

    Camilo Villegas tied the Phoenix Open first-round record with a 9-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over former Florida teammate Matt Every at TPC Scottsdale. ... Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford and Hee Young Park share the first-round lead at Tanah Merah's Garden Course in the HSBC Champions in Singapore after shooting 4-under 68s.

    Baseball

    Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will dedicate the 2010 season to Lexy Winters, a cousin who died of skin cancer. Tulowitzki said he'll return home to Sunnyvale to attend a memorial service for Winters, who died late Monday night. ... Mark McGwire said he's saddened his estranged brother, Jay, wrote a book that chronicles their use of performance-enhancing drugs and reiterated his claim that he took them only to heal from injuries. The brothers haven't spoken since 2002, and Mark doubts reconciliation is possible. ... Former Toronto Blue Jays general manager and A's executive J.P. Ricciardi has been hired by ESPN as an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."