Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Saturday, December 4th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 8th
Game 3: Sunday, March 20th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th

Cavaliers 104

(42-40, 13-28 away)

Raptors 95

(33-49, 22-19 home)

7:00 PM ET, April 20, 2005

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 26 36 29 13104
TOR 22 25 21 2795

Top Performers

Cle: L. James 27 Pts, 14 Reb, 14 Ast, 1 Blk

Tor: O. Cook 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

James' 27, 14 and 14 trumped by Nets' victory

TORONTO (AP) -- LeBron James' triple-double wasn't enough to put the Cleveland Cavaliers into the playoffs.

Active Postseason Droughts
Team Seasons Last playoff app.
Warriors 11 '93-94
Clippers 8 '96-97
Cavaliers 7 '97-98

James had 27 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers to a 104-95 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night, but the New Jersey Nets defeated Boston to capture the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland and New Jersey finished with the same record, 42-40, but the Cavaliers didn't have the tiebreaker because the Nets won the season series.

"I just wanted to put us in a position to win. I did that. We needed some help, but we didn't get it," James said. "We did our part tonight, but we didn't do our part at other times and it came back and got us."

James did what he could, and by halftime was only one rebound short of a triple-double as Cleveland led by 15. The 20-year-old recorded his fourth triple-double of the season by grabbing a rebound just 23 seconds into the second half, and the Cavaliers began the half with a 16-2 run that included two 3-pointers by James.

His driving layup gave Cleveland a 29-point lead -- its biggest of the game -- with 5:12 left.

James said before the game that he would be checking out the scoreboard.

As LeBron Goes, So Don't The Cavs
2005 James' ppg Cavs' W-L
Feb. 26.2 5.7
March 29.9 6-9
April 32.7 5-7

"When we first got the score Boston was up 17, then they were up 10, then 5, 4 and it just kept going down," said James, who dropped his head when the final buzzer sounded to his game.

"This is not the end of the world. I got a family at home to take care of that brings a smile to my face every day," James said. "This is just basketball. I do this because I love to do this, but I got family members at home. That is what is most important."

Cleveland went 4-7 down the stretch, spoiling what many considered to be a breakthrough season for James after he earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2003-04.

James suggested the team is in turmoil.

"There were some missed opportunities on the court and some distractions off the court. It always catches up with you when you are not doing things right," James said.

Last time in Toronto, James' 56-point effort was wasted. Point guard Jeff McInnis didn't play in that game, a benching that helped lead to coach Paul Silas' firing by new owner Dan Gilbert the next day.

Youngest to reach 3,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists
Player Yrs.-Days
L. James, Cavaliers 20-110
K. Bryant, Lakers 22-161
M. Johnson, Lakers 22-231
T. McGrady, Rockets 22-233

McInnis did not accompany the team to Toronto this time.

On Tuesday, McInnis started against Boston but didn't score in six minutes before being replaced by Eric Snow. McInnis didn't rejoin his teammates on the bench for the second half until midway through the third quarter, and when he was there, he remained in his seat with a towel wrapped around his head.

The Cavs said he had a "viral syndrome," but didn't give any other specifics. McInnis said his stomach hurt while declining interviews after Cleveland's 100-86 win over the Celtics.

Snow said missing the playoffs will serve as a lesson.

"If this doesn't drive you to put in your work in the summer and come back and cut out all your agendas, and realize that this is still a team game, I don't know what will," Snow said. "You've got to play team ball."

Toronto fans were rooting for Cleveland to make the playoffs. One fan had a sign that read: "LeBron make Vince golf this season!" in reference to Vince Carter, who is reviled in Toronto because he demanded a trade and acknowledged he didn't give it his all with the Raptors.

Fans cheered when the videoboard showed an injured Carter going to the locker room during the New Jersey-Boston game. They also cheered when they showed footage of Carter missing a layup.

Jalen Rose had 25 points for the lottery-bound Raptors, who finished 33-49 -- the third straight year they've missed the playoffs.

"I'm so tired of losing it's unreal," Toronto forward Chris Bosh said. "I guess it's just a test of character. We just have to make sure we pass it."

Game notes

Snow went 3-for-14 from the field. He played 47 minutes because of McInnis' absence. ... Cleveland interim coach Brendan Malone didn't want his players checking out the score in the Nets game. "I hope they are looking at the rim rather than the scoreboard." ... The Cavaliers went 8-10 under Malone. ... James was one assist shy of tying a career-high. ... Comedians Damon and Shawn Wayans sat courtside.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 104 95
FGM-FGA 38-83 (.458) 36-79 (.456)
3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 3-10 (.300)
FTM-FTA 23-39 (.590) 20-24 (.833)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-49 7-37
Assists 26 14
Turnovers 11 11
Steals 5 6
Blocks 6 5
Fast Break Points 9 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (2/0) 25 (4/0)
Largest Lead 29 4

Top Performers

LeBron James James
Points: 27
Reb: 14
Ast: 14
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Omar Cook Cook
Points: 19
Reb: 3
Ast: 9
Stl: 2
Blk: 1