CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James brought Cleveland back as far as
he could, and then got some help. Some big help.
Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas drained three long jumpers,
including a tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, and Cleveland
rallied for a 114-109 overtime win against Phoenix on Wednesday
night, the Suns' first loss this season.
James scored a season-high 38 points -- 17 during an amazing
one-man comeback in the fourth quarter -- for Cleveland, which
trailed by 19 entering the final period before pulling off one of
the most unlikely comebacks in the club's 35-year history.
James also made the pass that set up a stunning 3-pointer by the
7-foot-3 Ilgauskas with 3.6 seconds to go.
"He's made that shot so many times in practice," James said.
"Z is a good shooter. There was no hesitation in giving it to him.
I don't need to shoot every time for us to win."
Drew Gooden had 16 points and a career-high 21 rebounds for the
Cavaliers, who were outscored by 18 points in the third but then
turned around and outscored Phoenix 31-12 over the final 10:04 to
With Ilgauskas knocking down two more shots from beyond 20 feet,
Cleveland opened with an 8-0 spurt to start the extra session and
won its second straight after opening 0-3.
"That kind of comeback is something you build on," Cavs guard
Eric Snow said. "It builds character."
Shawn Marion scored 22 points, Quentin Richardson had 21 and
Amare Stoudemire 20 for Phoenix. Steve Nash had 15 points and 17
assists for the Suns, who came in as the league's hottest team and
were in control after a dominant third quarter.
"We let it slip away. That's a game we should have won,"
But James brought the Cavaliers back all by himself.
"We were down big, and LeBron said, 'Hey, I'm going to get it
done for you in the fourth quarter," Cavs coach Paul Silas said.
"To win that kind of game is unbelievable."
The 19-year-old James hit a 3-pointer to get the Cavs to 97-92
with 1:26 to go, and after Nash's miss, James drove the lane for a
thundering dunk to make it 97-94.
After a Phoenix turnover, James made two free throws with 34.5
seconds left. The Suns turned it over again before Nash's two free
throws gave Phoenix a 99-96 advantage with 7.6 seconds to play.
Cleveland called timeout to set up a 3-point try for James, who
caught a long inbounds pass, and after being double-teamed, alertly
passed to Ilgauskas, who calmly drained his fourth career 3-pointer
with 3.6 seconds left.
"The best play of the game," Silas said. "Z was not the first
option, but he was wide open. He took it and made it. What can you
Once he got the ball, Ilgauskas never hesitated.
"I didn't have time to think about it. I just let it fly," he
Phoenix had a final chance to win in regulation but Joe Johnson
missed a short runner in the lane.
"That one hurt," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We got up 19
and we shut it down. Then they got lucky. Ilgauskas hits a 3 and it
just writes a storybook ending for them."
Ilgauskas scored the first bucket of overtime on a jumper from
the wing, and he sank another outside shot to put the Cavs up
107-99 with 1:27 left.
Cleveland forward Robert Traylor jumped up on the scorer's table
as the crowd filled the arena with chants of "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!" and
Ilgauskas was mobbed by his teammates.
A little earlier, many of those same fans were booing the
Cavaliers after they fell behind by 19.
James came in leading the league in minutes played, averaging
45.8 per game. Silas would like to give his young star some rest,
but he's not concerned about wearing him out.
"He's 19 years old, he can handle it," Silas said before the
game. "Anyway, I've got to win."
James sat for just one minute in the first half and added 10
rebounds, six assists and three steals in 48 minutes.
"I'm as tired as I've ever been," James said. "But I can
sleep all day tomorrow, coach gave us the day off."
Gooden, who managed just six rebounds in his two previous games,
had eight in the first quarter as the Cavaliers reeled off 10
straight points and opened a 24-23 lead after one.
Both of Cleveland's home games have gone to overtime. ...
For the first time this season, the Cavaliers weren't playing a
home opener. In addition to their own last week, they had
opening-night games in Miami, Milwaukee and Atlanta. ... Cavaliers
G Dajuan Wagner and C DeSagana Diop are both eligible to come off
the injured list Thursday. Silas said both could be activated
before Saturday's game against Washington. ... Suns G Leandro
Barbosa didn't play because of a sprained right ankle.