Fri, Mar 24, 2006 - Page 23 News List

LeBron's buzzer-beater lifts Cavs past Charlotte

BASKETBALL With less than a second left in overtime, LeBron James netted a rim-rattling 21-footer to earn his first game-winning shot and ninth career triple-double

AP , CLEVELAND

LeBron James hit the first game-winning shot of his career with 0.9 seconds left in overtime, finishing with 37 points and his ninth career triple-double in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 120-118 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday night.

The winning shot came when James got the ball at the top of the key and dribbled into a rhythm before firing a 21-footer that rattled the rim and went in as his teammates mobbed him. James also had 12 assists and 11 rebounds to help Cleveland move closer to securing its first playoff berth since 1998.

Raymond Felton scored 30 points for Charlotte.

Pistons 82, Heat 73

Chauncey Billups had 24 points and 10 assists at Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Detroit rallied past Miami in a matchup of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Shaquille O'Neal (thumb) returned to the Miami lineup after sitting out Tuesday's loss in Minnesota because of a thumb injury, but the Heat lost his backup, Alonzo Mourning, to a calf strain in the second quarter. As a result, O'Neal played a season-high 43 minutes, scoring 27 points.

He didn't get much help from Dwyane Wade, who was held to a season-low 13 points on 3-for-15 shooting.

Detroit has won 16 straight at home, five short of the team record. The Pistons also clinched the outright Central Division title, and reduced their magic number for the East title to six over Miami.

76ers 115, Hawks 106

At Philadelphia, Allen Iverson scored 29 points in his return to Philadelphia's lineup, and Kyle Korver added 23 and Chris Webber had 21 to help the 76ers snap a four-game losing streak.

Iverson, the NBA's second-leading scorer with an average of 33.2 points, missed the last four games after he bruised and sprained his foot against Memphis on March 12.

Andre Iguodala had 17 points for the Sixers, who shot 51 percent from the floor. The Sixers made 10 of 15 3-pointers.

Pacers 95, Bulls 85

In Indianapolis, Jermaine O'Neal scored 16 points in his first game in two months, Stephen Jackson had 12 of his 24 in the fourth quarter, and Indiana beat Chicago.

O'Neal missed 24 games with a torn left groin. He entered the game in the first quarter for his first appearance since Jan. 24, and scored on his first shot with 5:58 left in the period. Andres Nocioni had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Bulls' fourth straight loss. Ben Gordon, Chicago's leading scorer, was held to nine points on 3-for-15 shooting.

Magic 111, Knicks 87

In Orlando, Florida, Dwight Howard had 23 points and seven rebounds, and the Magic rolled in Steve Francis' return to Orlando.

Howard missed the first start of his career for Orlando after showing up late for shootaround, but the second-year standout scored 10 points in a 4-minute span of the first half -- many of them on putback dunks for three-point plays.

Celtics 110, Raptors 96

At Boston, Paul Pierce scored 32 points for the Celtics.

Delonte West scored 21 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 19. Boston has defeated Toronto eight straight times at home, with Toronto's last win coming on Nov. 23, 2001. Mike James led the Raptors with 31 points.

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