CLEVELAND — It's over. Finally. Barely.
Nearly two months after it started innocently, the Cleveland Cavaliers stopped their NBA-record losing streak at 26 games Friday night with a 126-119 win in overtime against the Los Angeles Clippers, who did all they could to extend the Cavs' misery.
Cleveland won for the first time since Dec. 18 against the New York Knicks, and had to go an extra five minutes to ensure it didn't set a record for the longest skid in pro sports history. The Cavs will gladly settle with tying the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the worst streak among the four major sports.
It's one they didn't want to own, and they played like it.
Antawn Jamison scored 35 points and made the game's biggest basket, a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in OT for the Cavs. Daniel Gibson scored 10 in overtime and J.J. Hickson, playing like a man possessed all night in a matchup with Blake Griffin, added 27 points and 14 rebounds.
The Clippers quickly cut a six-point deficit to 120-119 on Randy Foye's 3 with 44 seconds to go. But Jamison responded by popping outside and draining his 3 from the left wing to revive the hopes of Cleveland fans, whose emotions went up and down all night.
After Foye's 3 rattled in and out with 14 seconds remaining, Gibson was fouled and Clippers guard Baron Davis was ejected for arguing. Gibson made a technical and dropped two more free throws to put the Cavs up by seven. When Los Angeles misfired on its last trip, Cavs forward Jamario Moon grabbed the loose ball and held it high as the clock ticked off the precious last seconds.
It was only the second victory for Cleveland in the past 38 games.
As the final horn sounded, wine-and-gold streamers that had been sitting high above Quicken Loans Arena since a week before Christmas tumbled from the ceiling and soon fans were belting out the lyrics to "Cleveland Rocks."
Griffin had 32 points and 13 rebounds, Davis scored 26 and Foye had 23 for the Clippers.
The Cavs were energized by the return of Mo Williams, who had 17 points and 14 assists in his first game in nearly a month.
HEAT 106, PISTONS 92: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and LeBron James added 16 points and 10 assists, helping the streaking Miami Heat take over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Miami (39-14) has won eight straight games since losing five of six last month. The Heat entered the night tied atop the conference with Boston, which was off after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
LAKERS 113, KNICKS 96: At New York, Kobe Bryant scored 33 points in another effortless night at Madison Square Garden, and Los Angeles cruised past the struggling New York Knicks.
Bryant scored 19 in the first quarter, and perhaps only the lopsided score kept him from recording a sixth 40-point game at the arena. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Pau Gasol added 20 points for the Lakers, who beat the Knicks for the eighth straight time overall and fifth in a row at the Garden, where Bryant owns the scoring record of 61 points that might've been in jeopardy if he played more than 29 minutes.
76ERS 77, SPURS 71: At Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday scored 27 points to lead Philadelphia over San Antonio.
Spencer Hawes added 13 points and Elton Brand tied his season high with 17 rebounds for the 76ers, who defeated the Spurs for the fourth consecutive season in Philadelphia.
Despite shooting poorly all night, the Sixers were able to fend off the NBA-leading Spurs and remain in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Sixers have won eight of their last 11 overall.
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