Cavs must win again, need help to gain playoffs

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Robert Traylor jumped onto the scorer's table,
right above the spot where he had kicked open a hole moments
earlier, and thrust his powerful arms into the confetti-filled air.

After an ownership change, a coaching change and a change in
direction, the Cleveland Cavaliers still have a playoff pulse.

"We've got a chance," Traylor said. "That's about all we can
ask for. We put ourselves in this hole."

LeBron James and Traylor made sure Cleveland's topsy-turvy
season would have at least one more meaningful game, leading the
desperate Cavaliers past the Boston Celtics 100-86 Tuesday night.

James had 32 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while
Traylor came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points and
Eric Snow added a season-high 13 assists for the Cavs (41-40), who
are tied with New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff in the
Eastern Conference but don't own the tiebreaker.

Cleveland, which won for just the third time in nine games,
closed its final home game with a 10-0 run to put away the Celtics,
who did not play Antoine Walker or Paul Pierce in the fourth

The Cavaliers' first playoff appearance since 1998 seemed a
certainty before they went 10-19 after Feb. 25. Now, they need to
win at Toronto in their season finale Wednesday night and hope the
Celtics can beat the Nets.

New Jersey defeated Washington 109-101 Tuesday night.

"We took care of business," said James, who scored a
career-high 56 points on his last visit to Toronto. "We're going
to need some help. Hopefully, Boston plays as hard as they did
against us and gets a win."

The Cavs can only hope Boston coach Doc Rivers changes his
rotation and uses Walker and Pierce more in the fourth.

"It's all on Doc," Cavs forward Drew Gooden joked. "It's what
Doc wants to do. I'm going to go down to his locker room now and
politic a little bit."

Rivers promised to play his starters the same amount against the

"I just think it's fair," Rivers said. "We still want to win.
I would like to do it with our young guys. We played our starters a
ton in the third quarter and I plan to do that tomorrow. It's the
right thing to do."

Despite being without Pierce and Walker, the Celtics were within
90-86 with 3:46 left.

That's when Traylor got whistled for a technical foul following
a loose-ball scramble in which he climbed over and allegedly kicked
Justin Reed. Traylor vented by kicking a hole in the scorer's

"They said I kicked something, so I made sure I kicked
something and got my money's worth," Traylor said.

Ricky Davis missed the foul shot, and after a steal by James,
Snow scored on a layup to make it 92-86. Traylor then scored on a
jumper, dunked a miss by Snow and hit two free throws to put
Cleveland ahead 98-86. James' dunk with 29 seconds left sealed it,
and the Cavaliers embraced on the floor before lining up to give
away their game jerseys and sneakers on Fan Appreciation Night.

James would have rather given Cleveland fans a playoff spot, but
he did provide them with some hope and a reason to watch the finale
in Toronto.

"I don't want to go back there again and get 56 points and
lose," James said, recalling his March 20 performance. "If I can
score 10 or 12 points and we win, I'll be fine with that."

Walker finished with 22 points and Davis had 15 for the Celtics,
who clinched their first Atlantic Division title in 13 years on
Sunday. Pierce had a season-low five points on 2-of-9 shooting in
27 minutes.

Fittingly, the home finale in this tumultuous season for
Cleveland included a little controversy surrounding Jeff McInnis.
The point guard, who inexplicably went from starter to benchwarmer
in March, remained in the locker room after halftime.

He returned but chose not to join the huddle during timeouts,
staying in his chair with a towel wrapped around his head. He went
back to the locker room for the fourth quarter. A team spokesman
said he had food poisoning.

Game notes
Celtics G Gary Payton joked that James wanted to pay him
off before the game. "LeBron offered me one-fourth of his Nike
deal," Payton said with a laugh. "I could take that and retire."
... James became the youngest player to record 3,500 points, 1,000
rebounds and 1,000 assists. He also became the second fastest to
reach the milestones, getting there in his 158th career game. Oscar
Robertson did it in 115. ... With C Zydrunas Ilgauskas possibly on
his way out as a free agent, James, who has openly campaigned to
get the Cavs to re-sign the All-Star center, said he wouldn't again
without the Lithuanian's blessing. "I have to talk to him first,"
James said. "It's not about LeBron and management, it's whether or
not he (Ilgauskas) wants to come back." Cleveland finished 29-12
at home after going 23-18 at Gund Arena a year ago.


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