Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 1/30

Game 1: Monday, January 30th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 22nd
Game 3: Sunday, April 2nd

Bobcats 118

(19-50, 6-29 away)

Cavaliers 120

(39-29, 25-10 home)

7:00 PM ET, March 22, 2006

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

1 2 3 4 OT T
CHA 22 24 32 26 14118
CLE 34 21 25 24 16120

Top Performers

Cha: R. Felton 30 Pts, 7 Reb, 10 Ast, 5 Stl

Cle: L. James 37 Pts, 11 Reb, 12 Ast, 1 Blk

LeBron bags triple-double, game-winner for Cavs

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James saved his best for last -- twice.

James made a winning shot in the final seconds for the first time in his career, hitting a jumper with 0.9 seconds left in overtime of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 120-118 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday night. He finished with 37 points and his ninth career triple-double.

"Game, set, match, I knew it was over," Cavaliers guard Damon Jones said of the final play.

It came after James, who also had 12 assists and 11 rebounds, made a crisp pass that led to a game-tying 3-pointer by Flip Murray with 0.4 to play in regulation.

Rookie Raymond Felton scored 30 points to lead six players in double figures for Charlotte, which was without leading scorer Gerald Wallace and starting point guard Brevin Knight. Felton added 10 assists, seven rebounds, five steals and scored the Bobcats' final 10 points.

He couldn't match James, who got the ball at the top of the key with the crowd roaring. He dribbled into a rhythm before firing a 21-footer that rattled the rim and went in as his teammates mobbed him.

"It felt good," said James, adding that he pays no attention to critics who claim he meekly passes instead of boldly shooting with the game on the line.

"I never let it affect me," said the All-Star game MVP, who is averaging 30.8 points. "My teammates know I can make great shots and that was a prime example of it."

If not for James' pinpoint pass at the end of regulation, however, Cleveland would have lost.

Trapped by the Bobcats' swarming defense near midcourt, James found Murray alone in the far corner for a 104-all tie.

"If my teammates are open, I'm going to get them the ball," James said. "Flip was wide open."

James' final two assists set up Jones and Murray for 3-pointers in overtime. A fast-break slam by James with 1:30 left put Cleveland ahead 116-111.

But Felton hit a 3 from the corner and seconds later added two free throws for yet another tie.

"I had it going," Felton said, "but LeBron is one of a kind."

James, who went 16-for-23 from the line, followed with two free throws for a 118-116 lead. Felton then spun his way to the hoop to tie it for the 16th and final time at 118 with 20 seconds left.

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said James called his own number for the winner.

"I wanted LeBron to drive and have a guy to kick the ball to," Brown said of the play he originally designed during a timeout. "On his way out, LeBron told me he would make the shot and wasn't going to pass it.

"I'll live with him taking the shot at the end of every single game."

Cleveland (39-29) has won three straight at home after a three-game road losing streak and is three wins shy of last season's total with 14 to play.

The Cavaliers lead Washington by four games in the battle for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and play three of their next four at home, where they are 25-10. The top four clubs in each conference get home-court advantage in the first round.

James improved to 6-0 over the second-year the Bobcats, but it wasn't easy. Charlotte battled back from a 13-point deficit after being outscored 13-2 at the foul line in the first half.

"We listened to the official," coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "He said the Cavs were getting fouls because they were going to the basket, so we attacked and were rewarded for it."

Charlotte outscored the Cavaliers from the line 21-12 after halftime.

Drew Gooden and Murray scored 19 points apiece for Cleveland, which is 9-0 when James gets a triple-double.

Game notes

When Bobcats G Kevin Burleson made a third-quarter layup, it ended a streak of 33 straight missed field goals by the rookie in 19 games since Jan. 13. ... Bobcats rookie G Alan Anderson had season highs of 17 points and six rebounds. ... Cavs G Larry Hughes, who had finger surgery Feb. 14, is "progressing fine," according to Brown. Hughes remains on a timetable of 8-10 weeks to return, which could enable him to play in the playoffs. ... The Bobcats are 6-29 and have lost 18 of their last 20 on the road. ... Charlotte used its 24th different starting lineup. ... Wallace, who had 27 points Tuesday night, sat out with a sore left calf. Knight missed his second straight game with a groin strain.<

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 118 120
FGM-FGA 44-98 (.449) 43-79 (.544)
3PM-3PA 7-25 (.280) 9-16 (.563)
FTM-FTA 23-31 (.742) 25-35 (.714)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-46 8-46
Assists 21 31
Turnovers 10 19
Steals 10 8
Blocks 3 9
Fast Break Points 9 13
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (0/0) 26 (0/0)
Largest Lead 4 13

Top Performers

Raymond Felton Felton
Points: 30
Reb: 7
Ast: 10
Stl: 5
Blk: 0
LeBron James James
Points: 37
Reb: 11
Ast: 12
Stl: 0
Blk: 1