"I just love playing with him," McInnis said. "He made some
passes where I've just got to look at the tape to see them again."
McInnis scored six points -- including a shot he "just threw in
the air and it went in," in a 47-second span in the final minutes
-- to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-91 victory over the New
Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.
James came within one rebound of his first career triple-double
with 22 points and a career-high 14 assists.
"If we had lost, it would have made me mad," said James, who
had nine rebounds with 9:59 to play -- then didn't have another
missed shot bounce his way.
"It just wasn't meant to be, but I'm happy because we got the
win," he said.
Drew Gooden had 18 points and 18 rebounds, while McInnis
finished with 16 points and 10 assists for Cleveland, which
improved to 11-2 at home and handed the Hornets their 12th
consecutive road loss.
McInnis' three-point play with 2:16 left put Cleveland ahead to
stay. He hit a running 16-footer, was fouled by Baron Davis, and
sank the free throw for a 92-89 lead.
"I knew there was contact and I was going to go to the line, so
I just threw the ball at the basket," McInnis said. "I was
surprised it went in."
Gooden then rebounded a miss by Nailon and triggered a Cleveland
break. James passed to McInnis open on the right wing and he
swished a 3-pointer for a 95-89 advantage.
"LeBron gets the credit for my shots," McInnis said.
James, four days shy of his 20th birthday, again flirted with
becoming the youngest NBA player to get a triple-double. Lamar Odom
of the Los Angeles Clippers was 20 years, 54 days old when he
became the youngest to do it on Dec. 30, 1999 -- which also was
James' 15th birthday.
The Hornets' Baron Davis, in his second game since missing 19
with an inflamed disk in his lower back, had 14 points in 19
minutes, hitting four of seven shots from 3-point range.
"I'm not even close to where I want to be, no lift to my
legs," Davis said. "I'm just out there playing about 50, 60
Davis' shooting helped the Hornets as the teams exchanged wild
momentum swings in the second half.
New Orleans opened the third quarter with a 14-0 run to take a
56-53 lead. The Cavaliers quickly countered with an 11-0 run that
included breakaway dunks by James and Anderson Varejao for a 69-60
The Hornets went back ahead 76-73 with a 10-0 run over the third
and fourth quarters.
Cleveland went 6:10 without a field goal until James scored on a
layup with 8:16 remaining to bring the Cavaliers within 81-77.
"I saw us go down six and it was time to go into attack mode,"
The Cavs started the game aggressively, outscoring New Orleans
24-8 in the paint in the first half. James had nine assists and
McInnis six as Cleveland continually found the open man underneath
for easy layups in opening a 51-39 lead 1:35 before halftime.
"I thought we played about as soft as we could be in the first
half," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We have to play 48 solid
The Hornets are 1-16 overall since their only road win,
76-75 on Nov. 22 at Utah. ... Cavs F-C Robert Traylor, who missed
eight games with a broken left little finger, had six points in 19
minutes in his first game back. ... The Cavs put F-C Scott Williams
on the injured list with a sore left knee. ... The Hornets, already
with five players on the injured list, also were without F-C Chris
Andersen (food poisoning), G Junior Harrington (sore right knee)
and F George Lynch (plantar fasciatis). ... Cleveland is 7-3 vs.
Western Conference teams, the best record in the East. ... The
Hornets are 0-9 vs. the East.