DALLAS (AP) ó LeBron Jamesí night started with a face-full of a defenderís hand and got worse with a slip in an empty backcourt. Then came two painful drives, the first leaving him with an aching wrist, the other forcing him to blink away stars from another pop in the face.

There was nothing easy or smooth about this game.

Despite the bruises, foul trouble and errant shooting, James managed 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Dallas Mavericks 88-81 on Thursday night in a game almost as difficult to watch as it was to play.

Cleveland won consecutive games for the first time in a month.