NEW ORLEANS, March 28 (Ticker) -- LeBron James
would not allow the
Cleveland Cavaliers' road losing streak to continue.
James scored 17 of his 44 points in the fourth quarter as the
Cavaliers overcame a 17-point deficit for their first road
victory in over two months, a 109-108 overtime triumph over the
New Orleans Hornets.
NBA TV highlights from |
"We didn't know we had a losing streak on the road until we got
to about seven or eight (games)," Cleveland forward Drew Gooden
said. "It was so long ago. We should build on this, our first
road win with (interim coach Brendan Malone
Entering with 11 straight losses away from home since a 105-87
win at Golden State on January 22, the Cavaliers were on their
way to another road setback as the Hornets opened an 84-67 lead
on a dunk by Chris Andersen
with 9:41 to go.
But James, who played the entire 53 minutes, took over, scoring
14 points during a 30-7 run that gave Cleveland a 97-91
advantage with 3:35 remaining.
"I just wanted to get in the game and put us in a position to
win," he said. "It was time for me to shoot the ball and every
time I shoot the ball, I feel like it is going in. ... My ankle
is hurting a lot and I knew I just couldn't sit on the bench."
"You could see it in his eyes," Hornets coach Byron Scott
"The thing that disappoints me is that we just took a back seat.
We didn't challenge him or their whole team."
James made two 3-pointers in the burst after missing all five
attempts in the first 36 minutes and Sasha Pavlovic
added a pair
from the arc.
"We never gave up," Malone said. "Everybody can take some
credit. ... The two threes each by LeBron and Sasha were
However, James was unable to seal the win in the final moments
With 11 seconds to go and the Cavaliers leading, 100-99, James
committed one of his 10 turnovers. Lee Nailon
made an errant
breakout pass, giving back possession to Cleveland.
"It was a terrible pass," Scott said. "That's the bottom line.
We had two guys that were ahead of the pack. I don't know what
(Nailon) was thinking or what was on his mind, but he just threw
it way too hard. There was no way that anybody was going to
catch up to it."
Rookie J.R. Smith
was forced to foul James, who made just 1-of-2
free throws, and Bostjan Nachbar
, who scored 17 points, hit a
short jumper with two seconds left to tie it at 101-101.
"I knew I had to put it up because time was running down,"
Nachbar said. "No one was on me, so I just put the ball up and
it went in."
missed a shot at the buzzer, forcing
sank a jumper with 24 seconds remaining to give the
Hornets a 108-106 edge. With eight seconds to go, James missed
a layup before Gooden grabbed the rebound, hit a layup and
converted the ensuing free throw after being fouled by
for a 109-108 lead.
"It was crazy," Gooden said. "You know, the whole time I was
thinking, 'If Illinois can do it (in the NCAA Tournament on
Saturday), we can, too.' We had faith."
"That was an enormous rebound and shot and free throw by
Gooden," Malone said. "Then we had a great stop at the end."
Dickau took a return pass after inbounding the ball and drove to
the basket but missed a layup with a second to go, sealing the
win for Cleveland.
"I drove and LeBron did not come to me, so J.R. wasn't open,"
Dickau said. "So in that situation, I want to get the ball on
the glass and we also have Cat (Jamaal Magloire
) and P.J., our
two top rebounders, coming down the lane. ... That's a shot I've
made this year. It just hasn't been going down the last few
Ilgauskas had 14 points and nine rebounds, Pavlovic scored 13 in
the final 17 minutes and Gooden added 11 and 10 boards for the
Cavaliers (36-32), who remained one game ahead of Indiana for
sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
"I am glad that I was able to help my teammates and that I was
so focused and made my shots," said Pavlovic, who was 5-of-8
from the field. "We have to fight back and make the playoffs
this year, and we have to play as well as we can."
Smith scored 22 points, Dickau added 11 and 12 assists and Brown
11 and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which has lost five of six.
"We played great for three quarters, but we just gave the game
away," Brown said. "This one really hurts. Don't really know
what else to say."
"We have had problems this year closing games out," Dickau
added. "This one really wasn't fun at all."