Posted Feb 6 2009 6:48PM
CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James never saw this steal coming.
Two days after Cleveland's superstar recorded an apparent historic triple-double in a 107-102 win against the New York Knicks, the NBA stripped James of one of his 10 rebounds after reviewing game tape. The league said the rebound with 39.3 seconds left should have been credited to Cavaliers center Ben Wallace, who tapped a loose ball that James grabbed.
Wallace finished with two rebounds but probably should have had more as several tip-outs were not scored as rebounds by the stats crew at Madison Square Garden.
A release from the league said: "All NBA games are reviewed to ensure the accuracy of the game statistics."
James finished with 52 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.
If his triple-double had stood, it would have been the first 50-point game in a triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975. Instead, James lost it and the Cavaliers were dealt a second slap from the league as point guard Mo Williams was not picked -- for the second time -- as an All-Star reserve on Thursday.
With Orlando guard Jameer Nelson out with a shoulder injury, commissioner David Stern selected Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen over Williams, a slight that drew criticism from Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and several Cavaliers. Williams, who is averaging 17.1 points for the Central-leading Cavs, was also left off the team in a vote by Eastern Conference coaches.
"Ben Wallace was right when he called Mo originally being passed over for the All-Star game a shamockery," Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said in a tongue-in-cheek e-mail to The Associated Press. "But not naming him as the natural and obvious replacement for the unfortunately injured Jameer Nelson is stupidiculous, idillogical and preposterageous."
Earlier this week, James called Williams' initial snub as "a total smack in the face."
The Cavaliers, who will put their 23-game home winning streak on the line Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, are using Williams' omission as motivation.
"He has played so well all year long and we've played great," forward Wally Szczerbiak said. "Obviously LeBron is what makes our team tick, but there are other guys out there on the floor, especially Mo, who are contributing a lot. It's a real injustice that Mo didn't make it. I don't know, maybe the coaches haven't seen him enough. I can't understand why.
"He's made big shots and made big plays for us. What are you going to do? We'll just move forward and use it as motivation."
Cleveland will be represented in Phoenix by James as well as coach Mike Brown and his staff. Brown, though, feels the Cavaliers deserved more.
"It's unfortunate that at the end of the day Boston has three guys and Orlando has three guys and we have one," he said after practice on Friday. "LeBron is a hell of a player, but I wonder in people's minds, what does that say about the rest of our team? Defensively we're No. 1. I think our points per game differential is No. 1 Obviously, our record is what it is.
"There are a lot of things stat-wise that show we're a pretty good team. For us not to be represented by multiple guys is disappointing."
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