LeBron James nailed a 19-footer as time expired to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a hard-fought 106-105 away victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday. James scored eight of his game-high 32 points in the final five minutes including the game-clinching jumper, the first buzzer-beater of his career.
"We knew it was going to the wire, I guess tonight whoever had the ball last was going to win the game," James said after a clash that had six lead changes in the final 90 seconds. "The Warriors are a very explosive team, but we got the win." Cleveland's win spoiled the return of the Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who played in his first game of the season after recovering from an ankle injury. Ellis had 20 points on eight-for-19 shooting while Stephen Jackson led Golden State with 24 points and put them 105-104 ahead after putting in a 23-foot shot with six seconds remaining.
However, James had the last laugh and added nine rebounds and eight assists as Cleveland (33-8) won their second game in a row on a West Coast road trip. Meanwhile, in other action, the Dallas Mavericks bounced back from their 34-point defeat at Milwaukee as they overcame the Detroit Pistons 112-91. Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the Mavericks with 26 points, Josh Howard added 22 and Brandon Bass came off the bench to score 18 points.
Danny Granger scored 25 points and Troy Murphy added 14 with 16 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers defeated the injury-plagued Houston Rockets 107-102. The Rockets played the second-half without All-Star centre Yao Ming. Yao collected eight points and five boards in 17 minutes before leaving with a knee injury. Boris Diaw collected 26 points and 11 rebounds against his former team and Gerald Wallace added 28 points as the Charlotte Bobcats beat the Phoenix Suns 98-76.
Shaquille O'Neal registered 20 points and seven rebounds to pace the Suns. Randy Foye hit two three-point baskets and blocked a shot late in the fourth quarter to power the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 116-108 win over the New Orleans Hornets. Rodney Carney scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and Jefferson added a double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota. James Posey had 24 points for New Orleans
Tim Duncan collected 30 points and 15 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs edged the New Jersey Nets 94-91. Tony Parker scored 17 points and Michael Finley added 11, including a key three-pointer that gave San Antonio a 90-86 lead with 22 seconds left in the game. Flip Murray recorded a season's best total of 25 points off the bench to steer the Atlanta Hawks to a 117-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The point guard Jose Calderon returned to the line-up after a six-game absence and collected 23 points and 10 assists to help the Toronto Raptors end a seven-game losing run with a 114-94 win over the Chicago Bulls. David Lee hit 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as six New York Knicks reached double figures in a 108-88 victory over the struggling Memphis Grizzlies. Eric Gordon scored a career high 41 points as the Los Angeles Clippers recorded a 107-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, also had a good day as he tied a season-best with 41 points, hitting 24-of-26 free throws and had 15 rebounds for the defeated Thunder. * With Agencies