Jamesí Jumper Beats Bobcats in OT
Cleveland 120, Charlotte 118 (OT)
CLEVELAND, March 22 (Ticker) -- LeBron James has accomplished many things in his three-year career. But until Wednesday, he never had made a game-winning shot.
James, who recorded his fifth triple-double of the season, nailed a jumper with nine-tenths of a second remaining in overtime to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 120-118 triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats.
"LeBron attracted two and my man was helping on (Zydrunas Ilgauskas)," said Murray, who earlier this month hit a game-winning 3-pointer at Chicago off a pass from James. "LeBron skipped it over to me and I had a wide-open look."
"We were down three with eight seconds left and I come down the court and I was doubled," James said. "Flip (Murray) was wide open and I got him the ball."
Cleveland held a 116-111 lead after James' fast-break dunk with 1:30 left in overtime. Charlotte rookie Raymond Felton countered with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to tie the game with 53 seconds to go.
James made two free throws with 36 seconds to play before Felton tied it at 118-118 on a driving layup with 20 seconds to go. Felton burned Damon Jones before swooping past James for the tying basket.
After a timeout, James netted a step-back jumper from the top of the free-throw circle over Jumaine Jones with less than a second to go. The Bobcats missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
"I wanted LeBron to drive the ball to his right hand, get to the rim, and have a guy to kick the ball to," Brown said. "On his way out, (LeBron) told me that he wanted flat. He said that he would make the shot and that he wasn't going to pass it."
"I went at four seconds, got to my comfort zone and made a tough shot," James said. "They were not going to get an opportunity to go down and make a shot on us."
Perhaps because he is a willing passer, James had been criticized for deferring to others in crunch time.
"Hopefully, the critics will get off (James') back now," Damon Jones said. "It was good for it to happen now going into the playoffs."
Felton scored 10 of his 30 points in overtime and added 10 assists, seven rebounds and five steals.
"I was hitting on all cylinders," Felton said. "I had that fight in me. I wanted to win. We should have won the game. Once again, we had the ball in our hands."
"We tried everything," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "But (Felton) still found a way to get to the rim, sometimes over or under two or three different guys."
Minus injured starters Brevin Knight, Emeka Okafor and Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats also had centers Primoz Brezec and Jake Voskuhl foul out. But they had six players score in double figures, including rookie Alan Anderson, who scored a season-high 17 points.
"You come into this building, play that well, undermanned, against a team of this caliber, it's on you," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "All you've got to do is win it."
The Bobcats had a chance to seal the game in regulation when Voskuhl split two free throws with 12 seconds left to give Charlotte a 104-101 edge. That set the stage for James' feed to Murray for the game-tying 3-pointer.
The Cavaliers improved to 9-0 when James registers a triple-double. Cleveland had a season-high 31 assists.