Buzzer Beaters From Flip, LeBron Key Win Over Depleted Bobcats
The monkey is finally off his back.
In a drama-filled overtime thriller, the Cavaliers staved off the Charlotte Bobcats 120-118 thanks to a 20-foot jump shot from LeBron James with 0.8 seconds left in overtime. The Cavs needed a buzzer-beating three pointer from Flip Murray just to get it to the extra frame.
This was a crucial win for the Cavaliers against a depleted Bobcats team missing Emeka Okafor, Sean May, Gerald Wallace, and Brevin Knight. The Bobcats played loose, and took advantage of several Cavalier mistakes throughout. And they also received a career best performance from rookie Raymond Felton, who single-handedly kept Charlotte in the game, scoring 17 of his 30 points in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime.
Things were looking good for the Cavs when a three point play by Drew Gooden gave them a 99-96 lead with a little over a minute left. But seven consecutive points by Felton gave Charlotte a 103-101 lead with 20 seconds remaining. LeBron James drove into the paint, kicking it out to a wide open Donyell Marshall, who missed a three point attempt. The ball was rebounded by Bobacts center Jake Voskuhl, who made one of two free throws, keeping the Charlotte lead at three at 104-101. With time expiring, and LeBron double teamed well outside the perimeter, he whipped a cross court pass to an open Flip Murray on the opposite baseline. Flip calmly stroked the open three ball as the buzzer sounded; sending the game into overtime, much to the delight of what had become a very frustrated home crowd over the games final minutes.
In the extra session, the Cavaliers fell behind 111-109 before consecutive threes from Damon Jones and Flip Murray, both on great drive and dish passes from LeBron, gave the Cavaliers a 114-111 advantage. On the next play, a steal by Eric Snow yielded a breakaway dunk by LeBron, once again giving the Cavs a seemingly comfortable five point lead with time winding down. However, another seven consecutive points by Felton left the game tied at 118-118 with 20 seconds remaining.
Off a time out, the Cavs cleared the floor for LeBron James, who was covered by Jumaine Jones. LeBron juked left, juked right … and then stuck a 20 foot top of the key jumper right in Jones eye, giving the Cavs the dramatic win.
LeBron registered with the ninth triple double of his career, and the Cavs are now 9-0 when he achieves the feat. James finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists … and drew a mind boggling 15 fouls on drives to the hoop. James converted 16-23 from the free throw line.
Flip Murray added 19 points for the Cavs on 7-11 shooting in 46 minutes of floor time, and has become Mr. Clutch for this team at a time they desperately needed someone to fill that role. Damon Jones added 12 points on 4-5 shooting from three point range. Drew Gooden also provided 19 points and 8 rebounds for the good guys.
The Cavs shot the ball well all night, making 54.4% of their shots from the field, and 9-16 from three. But 19 turnovers, lazy defense, and allowing the Bobcats to corral 15 offensive rebounds kept this a tight game throughout.
The Bobcats were led by Felton, and in a big way. Felton ended with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists … and was simply unstoppable down the stretch. Felton had his way with Snow and Jones late in the game, as they were unable to stop his quick moves to the hoop. The Cavaliers struggles defending quick point guards was never more evident than last night. Felton repeatedly abused Cavalier defenders, single-handedly keeping his team in the game late.
The win moved the Cavaliers back to ten games over .500 at 39-29, and they now enjoy a four game lead over Washington and Indiana for the #4 seed in the East. They have won three straight, and host Boston at home Friday night before the schedule toughens up on them a little bit.