WASHINGTON, May 5 (Ticker) -- Damon Jones
made first-year coach
look like a genius.
Jones hit a jumper from the left corner with 4.8 seconds
remaining to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers into the Eastern
Conference semifinals with a 114-113 overtime victory over the
Washington Wizards in Game Six of their first-round series.
NBA TV highlights from |
All-Star LeBron James
collected 32 points, seven rebounds and
seven assists as the fourth-seeded Cavaliers won their first
playoff series since 1993, setting up a matchup with the
two-time defending Eastern Conference champion and top-seeded
Cleveland, which was swept by the Chicago Bulls in its last
appearance in the semifinals in 1993, will face Detroit in the
postseason for the first time starting Sunday.
Hardly used throughout the series, Jones was inserted into the
game for the first time with Cleveland trailing, 113-112, with
14 seconds left and his team inbounding just past half-court.
"During off days when we weren't playing I've been getting my
reps up," Jones said. "Just because I wasn't in the rotation, I
wasn't going to stop working."
took the inbounds pass and quickly got the ball to
James, who was immediately double-teamed by Jared Jeffries
and Gilbert Arenas
. Sensing the pressure, James passed the ball
on the left sideline to Hughes, who flipped it to Jones for the
"I was going to either be the hero or the goat," Jones said.
"Tonight I was the hero so I'm glad. That's why I'm smiling. I
closed the MCI Center down and the place that you guys knew as
the Verizon Center is no more."
"Damon Jones has been a professional," Brown said. "He helped us
get to where we are. A lot of things that I have done this
year, I have done on a gut feeling. Tonight I just had a gut
feeling that I wanted to rotate Damon Jones into the lineup for
that last possession. He is a pro's pro."
After James won both Games Three and Five with last-second
shots, Washington coach Eddie Jordan
felt more than justified in
deciding to double the Cleveland star right away.
"We wanted to double-team LeBron James because he had shown that
he could beat us 1-on-1, 1-on-2 and sometimes 1-on-3," Jordan
said. "We took our chances and Damon Jones hit a shot. I
thought we executed our defense right, but this is what happens
when you double-team and have a player making a play."
Without any timeouts, the Wizards raced the ball upcourt and got
a good look, but Caron Butler
's 3-pointer from the right wing
hit the front of the rim.
"We left it all out there on the court," Butler said. "We were
a play away from winning this series and moving on. It hurts.
It's something you have to live with and tip your hat to the
other team because they did a great job. This whole series was
Jones' second basket on just three attempts in the series
highlighted a huge effort by the Cleveland bench in a game where
the organization had normally been snakebitten.
scored 28 points, Flip Murray
21 and Anderson Varejao
grabbed 10 rebounds as the Cavaliers captured their
second road win in a playoff series for the first time in
franchise history and improved to 1-4 all-time in Game Sixes.
"I wasn't necessarily shooting the ball well up until this game
and I wanted to get some easy buckets," said Marshall, who shot
11-of-15 and grabbed eight rebounds. "My teammates were getting
me the ball at the right spot at the right time. I was open
and I was in rhythm and able to knock the shots down.
"We have a lot of guys who've been scorers on other teams and
guys who can step up on any given night and we showed that
The play of the bench proved crucial down the stretch as James
scored only two points in an 11-1 run that turned a 101-94
deficit with just over two minutes remaining into a 105-102 edge
after two free throws by Eric Snow
with 14 seconds left.
Marshall started the spurt with one of his four 3-pointers and
Murray added a driving layup and two free throws.
Despite his lack of scoring, James still played a big role in
the run with a huge play on the defensive end. With the Wizards
trying to add to their 102-101 lead, James blocked
from behind and started a fast break that led to
Murray's two free throws.
Cleveland later had a 107-104 advantage in regulation after
Murray sank two more free throws with 9.9 seconds remaining.
Arenas, who finished with 36 points on 14-of-27 shooting, had
the ball stripped out of his hands and out of bounds after
racing up the court. However, he caught the ensuing inbounds
more than seven feet behind the 3-point line and sank the deep
shot to force the overtime.
"He shot it from where the ESPN booth was - where Hubie Brown
and those guys were sitting," James said. "It was an
unbelievable shot. Gilbert is just an unbelievable player."
In the extra session, James and Arenas exchanged baskets in the
opening moments. Eventually, Arenas had a chance to add to a
113-112 lead for Washington with 15 seconds left but missed two
In between the two misses, James went up to Arenas and had a few
words to say to the Washington star.
"If you miss both of those free throws, the game is over," James
said he told Arenas.
After missing the second, Arenas went to the bench shaking his
head in disbelief.
"They gave us a chance and we didn't capitalize on it," Arenas
said. "I had the chance to seal the game with two free throws
and missed them both. You live and you learn and that is
something I can take into the summer and use as motivation. I
will be in plenty of situations and have plenty of opportunities
to redeem myself."
scored 22 points and Butler added 18 and a
career-high 20 rebounds for fifth-seeded Washington, which
failed to make its second straight trip to the conference