TORONTO, March 20 (Ticker)
-- King James was magnificent but still
couldn't save the Cleveland Cavaliers from losing their ninth
straight road game.
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became the youngest player to score 50 points in an
NBA game, setting a franchise record with 56 in a 105-98
setback to the Toronto Raptors.
The 20-year-old James was miserable in his last game, hitting
just 3-of-20 shots in a 93-81 home loss to Philadelphia on
Friday. Seeking to atone for that, James came out with a
vengeance, scoring 16 points in the first quarter and 29 by
The 2004 Rookie of the Year added nine more in the third quarter
and 18 points in the final period as he posted the
second-highest total in the NBA this season. But the Raptors
withstood it and sent the slumping Cavaliers to their ninth loss
in 12 games overall.
"I played well, probably the best game of my life, but it means
nothing when you come away with a loss," James said. "I knew I
wasn't going to have two bad ones (games) in a row. But I don't
care about individual stats. I was disappointed to have as
good a game as I had, and still come out with a loss."
scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and
Donyell Marshall added 24 and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.
"I just wanted to stay aggressive in the fourth quarter,
especially with the way LeBron was playing," Rose said. "He put
the team on his back. We put multiple guys on him and it
didn't matter. Like I told the guys earlier, once he turns 21
and is able to drink, it's over."
Rick Barry was 21 years, 261 days old when he scored 57 for San
Francisco in a game against New York on December 14, 1965.
"It's a great achievement, but I'd rather get it with a win,"
said James, who is 20 years, 80 days old.
James eclipsed the franchise record of 50 by Walt Wesley on
February 19, 1971 against Cincinnati. It also was the most
points scored against the Raptors, surpassing the 51 by
Philadelphia's Allen Iverson on January 21, 2001.
Playing all 48 minutes, James made 18-of-36 shots, including six
3-pointers, and was 14-of-15 from the line as he became the
sixth player to score 50 points in a game this season. Only
Iverson, who had 60 against Orlando on March 2, has scored more.
James also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists.
"It's disappointing to lose today, but this was something
special to watch from a great player and you've got to put him
in that category," Cavaliers coach Paul Silas
said. "It's too
bad we couldn't come out with a win, but that was superb."
"I thought he earned all 56 of them," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell
said. "I mean, he hit some fadeaway threes and shots when we
had two guys contesting him."
Despite James' heroics, the Cavaliers never led in the fourth
quarter. A 3-pointer by Rose gave Toronto the lead for good at
75-72 with 1:06 left in the third period.
James hit a fadeway jumper from the right corner to pull the
Cavs within 90-88 with 4:32 remaining. But Rose hit a runner in
the lane and Marshall scored on a follow shot to rebuild the
lead to 97-90 with 2:44 left.
James reached 50 with a short bank shot from the left wing with
2:22 left and connected on a 3-pointer with 1:44 remaining to
pull the Cavaliers within 99-95. After Rose hit a baseline
fadeway jumper, James responded with a 3-pointer with 43 seconds
But Rafer Alston
hit a shot from the right baseline to give
Toronto a 103-98 lead with 23 seconds remaining and James
committed a turnover and missed two shots from the arc in the
final 20 seconds.
James and Drew Gooden
, who finished with 24 points and 10
rebounds, accounted for 82 percent of Cleveland's offense. The
rest of the Cavaliers made just 7-of-29 shots.
All-Star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas
was just 4-of-15 from the
field and Cleveland's bench was outscored, 34-1.
"When I used to play with Golden State, (former teammate) B.J.
(Armstrong) used to tell me in order to beat the Bulls let
Michael (Jordan) score his points and stop everybody else,"
Marshall said. "I think we did that tonight. LeBron scored his
points but we didn't let Ilgauskas get off. Basically, they had
to keep going to LeBron to score."