Cavaliers clinch playoff berth against Pacers

By Cliff Brunt The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – LeBron James had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers 105-94 yesterday night to clinch a playoff berth.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 23 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 52 percent from the field.

Jermaine O’Neal led Indiana with 32 points on 11-for-18 shooting. He was coming off a 39-point game, the second-best scoring effort of his career, in a 92-90 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

Danny Granger scored 22 points and Jamaal Tinsley had 15 points and 12 assists for the Pacers, who have lost two straight home games and 15 of 17 overall.

Cleveland had lost three of four after an eight-game winning streak, but pulled within 2 1/2 games of Detroit in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. It was the opener of a five-game road trip for the Cavaliers, who won the season series with Indiana 3-1.

The Pacers trailed 75-72 at the end of the third quarter and cut their deficit to 79-78 on a jumper by Granger with 8:51 left.