LOS ANGELES (AP) The final seconds ticked away, with the Los Angeles Lakers needing a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
That shot was never even attempted.
LeBron James won his personal matchup with Kobe Bryant in a duel of the NBA's leading scorers, tallying 14 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Los Angeles 98-95 Sunday for their fifth straight win over the Lakers.
After James' two free throws with nine seconds to play gave Cleveland a three-point lead, the Lakers took a timeout to formulate strategy. The Cavaliers, of course, focused their defense on Bryant.
"That's really what you want. You want to not allow Kobe to get a clean look from the start of the play, make those guys make a couple passes, which we did, and not let them get a clean look," Cleveland's Larry Hughes said. "Nobody wanted to shoot it."
Luke Walton appeared to be the player who should have fired away.
"Has to, he's the open guy," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before quickly adding: "The game wasn't lost on that sequence."
Walton, who had scored only 17 points in the Lakers' previous five games, shooting 6-for-20, shouldered the blame.
"We ran our last-second play, I was hoping to get the shot off," said Walton, who shot 4-for-8 for nine points and also had five rebounds, five assists and four steals. "I kind of fumbled the ball a little bit, wasn't aware the clock was as low as it was, and as soon as I passed it back to Kobe, I realized that that was a mistake, and unfortunately it cost us big."
Bryant scored nine of his 33 points in the final period, and also had 12 rebounds and six assists, but it wouldn't be enough to keep the Lakers from losing their third straight to match their longest losing streak of the season.
MAGIC 96, CELTICS 93: At Orlando, Fla., Hedo Turkoglu nailed an off-balance 3-pointer with time expiring to lift Orlando over Boston, which played without Kevin Garnett. It was Orlando's second home win over Boston this season, and the Celtics' first game without Garnett, who has an abdominal strain. Dwight Howard had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Orlando, and Rashard Lewis scored 15 points. Paul Pierce led Boston with 24 points and nine rebounds.
SUNS 88, BULLS 77: At Chicago, Amare Stoudemire scored 24 points and Phoenix pulled away early in the fourth quarter to beat Chicago. Leandro Barbosa scored 13 and started a 12-0 run in the fourth with a baseline drive and two 3-pointers, sending the Suns to their sixth win in seven games. Stoudemire shot 9-of-16, while Shawn Marion added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Steve Nash finished with 14 points, even though he did not score until he hit a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter.
Kirk Hinrich did all he could to keep the Bulls in the game, finishing with 31 points the second time in less than a week he scored more than 30.
MAVERICKS 90, NUGGETS 85: At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, most coming over the final minutes to help Dallas hold off Denver. Nowitzki scored 14 of Dallas' last 16 points, starting with consecutive 3-pointers after Denver had closed within four points. He also was 4-for-4 on free throws in the final minute to make sure the Nuggets never came back from a deficit they fell into from the first few minutes of the game. Denver had won two straight since losing All-Star starter Carmelo Anthony to a sprained left ankle, but the Nuggets sorely missed his 25.5 point average this time.
Allen Iverson had 23 points and nine assists, and Anthony Carter added 20 points, including a run of 11 straight in the fourth quarter. But Kenyon Martin had only eight and Linas Kleiza, who is starting in Anthony's place, had only eight. His only two field goals came in the final 28 seconds.
TRAIL BLAZERS 94, HAWKS 9: At Portland, Ore., Brandon Roy scored 24 points, including the go-ahead free throw with 2.3 seconds left, and Portland erased a 19-point deficit to beat Atlanta. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for Portland, which improved its record at the Rose Garden to 18-4.
Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 19 points. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith each had 17.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Blazers.
TIMBERWOLVES 98, NETS 95: At Minneapolis, Al Jefferson had a career-high 40 points and 19 rebounds, hit the go-ahead free throws with 11.4 seconds to go, and helped Minnesota extend New Jersey's losing streak to nine. Richard Jefferson scored 35 points and Vince Carter added 25. But Carter attempted an ill-advised fallaway jumper with the Nets clinging to a 95-94 lead in the final 25 seconds.
Al Jefferson hit his free throws, and Richard Jefferson missed a short jumper on the other end to extend New Jersey's skid, its longest since November 2004.
BUCKS 105, WIZARDS 102 (OT): At Milwaukee, former Jazzman Mo Williams scored 25 points, including two key 3-pointers, and Charlie Bell added 22 as short-handed Milwaukee beat Washington in overtime. The Bucks overcame a career-high 40 points from the Wizards' Caron Butler to earn their third victory in the last 10 games and avenge a 24-point home loss to the Wizards on Jan. 4. Ex-Ute Andrew Bogut added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, while Royal Ivey added a career-high 17 points.
Antawn Jamison had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who overcame an 11-point deficit in the final 92 seconds of regulation to force overtime.
KINGS 103, SUPERSONICS 101: At Seattle, Kevin Martin scored Sacramento's final five points, including a frantic race the length of the court for a 20-footer as the clock expired, and the Kings extended Seattle's franchise-record losing streak to 14. Martin finished with 26 points, one of seven Kings in double figures. He appeared to give the Kings the lead for good with an improbable tip-in with 17 seconds left, but Sacramento needed Martin's heroics at the end.
Kevin Durant led Seattle with 19 points, but missed 15 of his 20 shots, and Wally Szczerbiak added 16. Seattle has yet to win in 2008 and didn't help its cause by missing 10 free throw attempts.
WARRIORS 106, KNICKS 104: At Oakland, Stephen Jackson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Andris Biedrins grabbed an NBA season-high 26 rebounds to help Golden State rally from another double-digit deficit to beat New York.
Golden State trailed by 10 points in the third quarter before finding its long-range shooting touch late to win for the seven time in nine games. The Warriors have trailed by double digits in 11 of their 26 wins this season.
Monta Ellis added 24 points, Baron Davis had 22 points and nine assists, and Biedrins had 11 points to go with his career-high rebounding game for Golden State.
Nate Robinson led New York with 22 points, Jamal Crawford added 21, and Eddy Curry had 17. But the Knicks, who had won five of seven, could not make the key plays down the stretch to begin a crucial five-game western swing with a win.