<
>

Cleveland storms back from 17-point deficit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- His team on the verge of getting routed for a
third straight time, LeBron James dribbled down-court with a
disgusted look on his face and quickly drilled a jumper from just
inside the 3-point line.

"I just wanted to get in the game and put us in a position to
win," James said. "It was time for me to shoot the ball and
everytime I shoot I feel like it is going in -- that's just my
confidence level."

For nearly the entire fourth quarter, the ball did go in
whenever James shot. He scored 17 of his 44 points in the final
period of regulation Monday night, when the Cleveland Cavaliers
erased a 17-point deficit en route to a 109-108 overtime victory
over the New Orleans Hornets.

James' only big miss came when he tried to tie the game with a
tough jumper from the right wing late in overtime. But Drew Gooden,
who hadn't scored since the first quarter, grabbed the rebound in
traffic and scored as he was fouled with 6.4 seconds left,
converting a three-point play that proved to be the game-winner.

Dan Dickau's driving floater that could have won the game for
New Orleans in the final seconds bounced wide off the glass.

Dickau said he wanted to pass off the drive, but James stayed in
the passing lane to prevent the ball from going to J.R. Smith, who
had led the Hornets with 22 points.

"So in that situation, I want to get the ball on the glass,"
hoping that Jamaal Magloire or P.J. Brown, who were collapsing into
the lane, could get a rebound if the shot missed," Dickau said.

But it was Gooden who grabbed the rebound and hurled it toward
the rafters as the buzzer sounded, ending Cleveland's 11-game road
losing streak and two-game skid overall.

"We had faith. We made a good run. I had a chance to win the
game," Gooden said. "They were on their heels down the stretch in
the fourth quarter, so I think the tables turned."

The Hornets led 84-67 early in the fourth quarter before James
scored 14 points during a 25-7 run that vaulted Cleveland into the
lead. He hit on drives, jumpers, and four free throws.

"You could see it in his eyes," Hornets coach Byron Scott
said. "The thing that disappoints me is we just took a back seat.
We didn't challenge him or their whole team. We took a step
backwards instead of matching their intensity."

The Cavs hit their first 11 field goals and first 10 free throws
of the quarter. Aleksandar Pavlovic added a baseline jumper and
three 3-pointers during the run, his last giving Cleveland a 92-91
lead with 4:41 to go. James followed with a 3 and a driving score
as Cleveland built a 97-91 lead before New Orleans clawed back in a
wild finish that included two turnovers in the last 15 seconds.

James then missed one of two free throws with 8.3 seconds left
in regulation, allowing New Orleans to tie it on Boston Nachbar's
short fade with 2.4 seconds left .

Pavlovic scored 13 for Cleveland, all during the fourth-quarter
comeback. Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 14 points, while Robert Traylor
added 12 and Gooden finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Smith led New Orleans with acrobatic driving layups and dunks
while hitting four 3-pointers. His last 3 gave the Hornets a
106-103 lead in overtime, but James responded with a 3 of his own
to tie it.

P.J. Brown, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds, hit a jumper with
24 seconds left in overtime before Gooden's shot.

Nachbar scored 17 for the Hornets. Jamaal Magloire and Lee
Nailon each scored 15 and Chris Andersen 11.

Game notes
The Hornets hit all 11 of their free throws in the third
quarter in stretching their 53-42 halftime lead to 78-63. ...
Cleveland has beaten New Orleans in five straight meetings. ...
James' missed 3 with 1:52 left in the fourth period was Cleveland's
first missed field goal of the quarter. .. Traylor came in
averaging 4.9 points but scored 10 points in his first 10 minutes
off the bench against his former team. ... Hornets reserve guard
Speedy Claxton had to leave the game briefly after he was hit in
the face and started bleeding from his lower lip.