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.
Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Antonio McDyess added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. DeJuan Blair grabbed 14 rebounds for San Antonio, which was trying to become the sixth team in NBA history to begin 45-8 or better and the first since the 1996-97 champion Chicago Bulls.
HORNETS 99, MAGIC 93: At Orlando, Fla., Willie Green scored 24 points and David West added 17 points and 17 rebounds as New Orleans rallied to beat Orlando.
The Hornets snapped a four-game losing streak, while Orlando's loss stopped a string of two straight wins. The Magic are 5-6 since posting their last three-game winning streak last month.
Chris Paul added 15 points, Jarrett Jack had 13 and Trevor Ariza 10 for the Hornets.
Dwight Howard led the way for Orlando with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
NETS 94, BOBCATS 89: At Charlotte, N.C., Brook Lopez had 31 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, and New Jersey held off the sluggish Charlotte Bobcats to snap a 12-game road losing streak.
The Nets improved to 4-24 on the road as Lopez posted his first double-figure rebounding game since Dec. 1, leading an energized team that seemed to respond to coach Avery Johnson changing the travel schedule.
Devin Harris added 16 points and eight assists and Kris Humphries had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who raced to a 12-2 lead and never trailed in their second straight win.
Stephen Jackson scored 21 points and Gerald Wallace added 20 for the Bobcats, who have dropped six of eight.
PACERS 116, TIMBERWOLVES 105: At Indianapolis, Dahntay Jones scored all of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and Indiana rallied past Minnesota to win for the sixth time in seven games under interim coach Frank Vogel.
Danny Granger also had 19 points for the Pacers, who trailed by nine in the second half.
Jones, who played sparingly under former coach Jim O'Brien, keyed the victory by making six of seven shots from the field — including 2 of 2 from 3-point range — as Indiana rallied from a seven-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.
Kevin Love finished with 22 points to lead Minnesota, which had won its last two.
TRAIL BLAZERS 102, RAPTORS 96: At Toronto, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, Rudy Fernandez had 23 and Portland beat the skidding Toronto Raptors for its third straight victory.
Coming off a career-high 42 points in Monday's win over Chicago, Aldridge shot 14-for-25 and grabbed 10 rebounds. He went 9-for-12 from the free throw line.
Andre Miller had 13 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, who have won 10 of 13.
Andrea Bargnani scored 29 points for the Raptors, who lost for the 16th time in 17 games.
GRIZZLIES 89, BUCKS 86: At Memphis, Tenn., Mike Conley had 23 points, including a key 3-pointer with 1:12 left, and eight assists as Memphis beat Milwaukee.
Sam Young finished with 19 points and a career-high eight rebounds as Memphis gave coach Lionel Hollins his 100th victory. Rudy Gay had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Darrell Arthur added 12 points.
Corey Maggette led the Bucks with 22 points, including 20 in the third quarter to help Milwaukee erase a first-half deficit. John Salmons had 18 points and six assists, while Brandon Jennings finished with 16 points.
Pistons to retire Rodman's No. 10 on AprilComment on this story
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons plan to retire Dennis Rodman's No. 10 during a halftime ceremony in April.
The eccentric rebounding specialist helped the Pistons win NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. He'll be honored April 1 when the Pistons host the Chicago Bulls, a team Rodman won three championships with from 1996-98.
Detroit rookie Greg Monroe currently wears No. 10 and will be allowed to keep it.
Rodman averaged 8.8 points and 11.5 rebounds in 549 games as a Piston. He was the league's defensive player of the year in 1990 and 1991.