Final Dime: Cavaliers 126, Clippers 119 OT
Mo Williams doubled-up with 17 points and 14 assists in Friday night's overtime win at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
Whatever it was, it worked – and the Cavaliers snapped the NBA’s all-time longest losing streak in dramatic fashion, pulling past the Clippers in overtime, 126-119, on Friday night at The Q.
For the past 55 days, the Cavaliers were a team that couldn’t find a way to win. But in a rough-and-tumble matchup with the Clippers, they refused to lose – turning in the grittiest performance of the season. By the time Friday’s matchup went to overtime, the deafening throng on the corner of Huron and Ontario was practically willing them to the win.
“It’s great that we finally got the monkey off of our back, but I expect our guys to play this hard every single night and play with that type of energy and urgency,” said Coach Bryon Scott. “If we do that, we will be okay.”
The OT thriller featured 22 lead changes and 16 ties – including three the final two minutes of regulation.
J.J. Hickson’s two free throws put the Wine and Gold up four – 108-104 – with 1:42 to play. But Griffin’s layup, followed by a Baron Davis Jumper knotted the score at 108-apiece. After an Antawn Jamison miss, Clips rookie Eric Bledsoe canned a pair of free throws to give L.A. the 110-108 lead.
But Mo Williams, making his first appearance since January 15, calmly canned a 17-foot step-back jumper with 6.3 to play in the fourth.
On the following possession, as time ran out, Baron Davis’ runner was blocked by J.J. Hickson – his fourth of the night – and the two squads went to overtime.
In the extra session, the Clippers took a one-point edge, 112-111, but that would be their last lead of the night. Daniel Gibson canned a three-pointer to give Cleveland a two-point lead on the next possession and his two free throws with 1:18 to play gave the Wine and Gold a seemingly-safe six-point lead, 120-114.
But Bledsoe scored on a layup and Randy Foye canned a three-pointer to bring L.A. back to within a point. After a Cavaliers timeout, however, Jamison drained a three-pointer to put the Cavs back up by four. Gibson canned two more free throws with 13 seconds remaining to seal the landmark victory.
Jamison led all scorers with 35 points – connecting on 11-of-20 shots, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. The 13th-year forward added nine boards, four assists and a pair of steals.
“The fans have been with us from day one and it just shows the character of these guys as far as still coming in and working hard,” said Jamison. “We were just waiting for when all of that hard work would pay off. It just feels good to have the feeling as far as getting a win and the atmosphere after a win.”
Hickson was a beast all night, but saved his best for last – going 4-for-5 from the floor in the fourth quarter, where he scored 10 of his 27 points. J.J. blocked four shots on the night, three in the final period – including a highlight-reel straight-up swat of the Clippers presumptive Rookie of the Year.
Despite battling foul trouble for most of the second half, Hickson’s totals for the night were 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting, adding 14 boards – eight off the offensive glass.
Mo Williams’ return gave the Cavaliers both a physical and emotional lift. Williams went 7-for-18 from the field for 17 points off the bench, leading both squads with 14 assists.
Gibson was also big off the bench, pitching in with 17 points of his own – including nine in overtime.
Ramon Sessions rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures – notching 10 of his 12 points on 3-for-3 shooting after intermission.
The Cavaliers shot an even 50 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the stripe. They dished out 34 assists on 46 made baskets and were 8-of-20 from beyond the arc.
The Cavaliers, finally off the schneid, will look to keep their positive mojo rolling when the Washington Wizards roll into The Q on Sunday night.
2. With Friday’s win, the Cavaliers have now topped the Clippers on nine straight occasions – L.A.’s longest losing streak against any team.
3. Although he hasn’t faced them as a member of the Cavaliers, Antawn Jamison scores more against the Clippers than any other team in the NBA. In 33 games, Jamison is averaging 23.3 ppg against L.A. He’s notched double-figures in all 33 contests.
4. The 126 points were the most Cleveland has scored this season, topping the 124 they dropped on the Sixers in a Nov. 5 win in Philly.
5. Cavaliers game night host, Ahmaad Crump, was invited by the NBA to perform hosting duties during this year’s All-Star Weekend Events next weekend. It’s the second consecutive year that Crumps made the trip to the midseason classic.
6. In just his first game back, Mo Williams set this season’s NBA assist mark for a player coming off the bench with 14 helpers.
7. Seated (directly) at center court on Friday night was Tribe DH Travis Hafner. Also in the house was former Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith.
8. When Antawn Jamison canned a 17-footer with 9:14 remaining in the third, it marked his 18,000th point as a pro – one of just nine active players to pass that plateau. The former Tar Heel currently has 18,018 points, 7,295 rebounds and 971 three-pointers made for his career.
9. During the Cavaliers midseason struggles – beginning with a Nov. 30 loss to Boston – one bright spot at The Q has been Daniel Gibson, who has shot .554 from three-point range, including 3-of-5 on Friday night.
10. The Cavaliers have the third-best assist mark in the NBA in the month of February – averaging 23.6 helpers per contest this month. On Friday night, the Wine and Gold set a season-high with 34 assists.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.