Flip Murray Free Throw, Last Second Kobe Miss Seal Win In a thrilling finish, the Cavaliers rallied back from a fifteen point fourth quarter deficit to knock off Kobe Bryant and the Lakers by a score of 96-95. The win avenges a one point loss to the Lakers earlier in the season that saw Kobe score the Lakers last six points, and LeBron James miss a potential game winner at the buzzer.The Cavs trailed 85-70 early in the fourth quarter before going on a 22-6 fourth quarter run in front of a sold out, and incredibly enthusiastic home crowd at The Q. Flip Murray was fouled driving to the hoop with 3.4 seconds left, and hit one of two free throws, breaking a 95-95 tie. The Cavs then survived a last second three point attempt by Kobe Bryant, who was very well defended by Eric Snow and others. Snow did a good job on Kobe for most of the game, making him work very hard for the majority of his 38 points.After the game, LeBron James called this the Cavs biggest win of the season. Despite the fact it was a comeback win at home against a .500 team, it's hard to question him. The Cavs have been incredibly streaky this season, and have several winnable home games coming up on the schedule. Hopefully this win springboards the Cavs to a strong finish, leading into the return of Larry Hughes ... and then the playoffs. After the buzzer sounded, LeBron gathered the team together on the floor and said a few words to the group. "I wanted to get the guys focused and let them know this was a big win for us getting ready for the playoffs", said James. "I wanted to get everybody together and let them know that we're all in."
James finished with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists but the real hero on this afternoon was Flip Murray. Flip had 14 of his 21 in the fourth quarter, and also added two big steals late. He also had 8 rebounds, including one with seven seconds left and the game tied that set up his eventual game winning free throw.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas also added 25 points and 7 rebounds on 10-16 shooting. The Cavs have done a better job as of late getting Z involved in the half court offense, a season long gripe of mine. Lamar Odom had 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists ... but it was his missed layup that Flip collected the rebound on with the game winding down. Kobe had 38 points, but shot just 5-18 in the second half.
The win moved the Cavs to 38-29 on the season, and three games up on the Washington Wizards for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs now have won two straight, and have two days off before facing Charlotte at home on Wednesday and Boston at home on Friday.