Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Wednesday, November 26th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 23rd
Game 3: Monday, February 23rd
Game 4: Friday, March 5th

Cavaliers 88

(26-36, 9-23 away)

Hornets 85

(33-29, 20-12 home)

Coverage: COX

7:00 PM ET, March 5, 2004

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 21 18 29 2088
NO 23 20 19 2385

Top Performers

Cleveland: C. Boozer 18 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

New Orleans: B. Davis 26 Pts, 1 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

James led Cavs with 19 points

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- LeBron James made the New Orleans Hornets pay for leaving him open late in the game.

No one picked up James when he received the ball outside the 3-point line, and his 22-footer from the right wing with 1:22 left gave Cleveland a lead it wouldn't relinquish in an 88-85 victory Friday night.

"It's one of the biggest shots I've made," James said. "It was clutch. We were down by two (83-81) and I just shot it with confidence."

James finished with a team-high 19 points, while Carlos Boozer had 18, including two free throws with 6 seconds left to provide the final margin.

Jamal Mashburn -- who made a late 3 to force overtime in a Hornets' victory Wednesday night -- had a chance to do it again, but this time his long-range fade was off the mark.

Hornets coach Tim Floyd said he wanted Baron Davis, who scored a game-high 26, including four 3-pointers, to get the ball on the final play. But Cleveland switched its defense to put Boozer on Davis, so Mashburn ended up with the ball.

Eric Williams had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, including a crucial straightaway jumper with 49 seconds left for an 86-83 lead.

Hornets reserve forward David West, sent into the game when Jamaal Magloire fouled out with just over four minutes to go, put back a rebound to make it 86-85 with 7 seconds left, setting up the final sequence.

Tony Battie added 12 points for the Cavaliers, while Jeff McInnis had 11 assists.

Mashburn finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds but missed 15 of his 21 shots from the field. Magloire had 13 points before fouling out.

New Orleans was looking to avenge a blown 25-point lead in a 104-100 loss at Cleveland on Feb. 23. Instead, Cleveland coach Paul Silas, fired by the Hornets after last season, got his third victory over New Orleans in four games.

"It feels great, really," Silas said. "It's like when you're traded away from a team as a player you want to come back and beat them."

His team outshot New Orleans 42 percent to 38 percent and finished with a 49-45 rebounding advantage, including 19 offensive rebounds for 24 second-chance points.

New Orleans drew its fourth sellout crowd of the season.

"It was a playoff atmosphere tonight and we were able to come through," James said. "Every win we can get is a key for us, and to get a win on the road against a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference is big."

With three All-Star caliber players in Davis, Mashburn and Magloire, the Hornets (33-29) are considered one of the more talented teams in the relatively weak Eastern Conference. But they've been inconsistent, with the loss against Cleveland the Hornets' 14th against a losing team.

"I don't know what to say. We just lost. I don't have an explanation," said guard David Wesley. "If we don't get it together, we won't make the playoffs."

Davis hit a pair of 3s early in the third quarter as the Hornets led 56-50, but New Orleans' play got sloppy after that. Six turnovers in the period included an inbound violation when Brown was called for handing the ball to Davis over the end line. That led to McInnis' runner that tied the game at 58.

New Orleans scored on only four of its final 17 possessions of the period, and Cleveland finished the quarter with a 10-1 run to take a 68-62 lead. Boozer fueled the run with a layup and jumpers of 16 and 7 feet.

Game notes

Mashburn has scored an average of 21.5 points since his return from knee surgery 18 games ago. ... New Orleans started 1-of-11 on 3-pointers before finishing 5-of-20. ... James' late 3 was only Cleveland's third of the game on 12 attempts. ... Cleveland had missed eight of 15 free throws in the second half before the final two by Boozer. ... Boozer hit a shot from about 35 feet at the halftime buzzer, but it was waved off for coming too late.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press