Wizards walk off winners

James disputes late traveling call in Cavaliers' 80-77 loss

Knicks upset Celtics, 100-88

January 05, 2009|By From Sun news services

Was it a walk?

LeBron James wants the NBA to take a closer look at what he calls his "crab dribble." The move, James insists, does not constitute traveling.

A referee disagreed yesterday.

James was whistled for taking an extra step while driving for a potential tying layup with 2.3 seconds left, and his visiting Cleveland Cavaliers (27-6) lost, 80-77, to the Eastern Conference-worst Washington Wizards (7-25) despite wiping out a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

"Bad call," said James, who had 30 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. "We all make mistakes, and I think I got the wrong end of the bargain. I watched it 10 times after the game, and it was clearly a good play."

James argued that he felt he was fouled as he released the shot, which went in.

His biggest beef, though, was with what he considered a misunderstanding of his move to the basket.

"You have your trademark play, and that's one of my plays. It kind of looks like a travel because it's slow, and it's kind of a high-step, but it's a one-two just as fluent as any other one-two in this league," James said. "It's a perfectly legal play, something I've always done."

Indeed, Washington's Caron Butler - who scored 19 points and guarded James most of the game, including on that closing play - remembered that same move, without an official's call, from one of the teams' recent playoff meetings.

"I definitely knew he traveled, but I didn't know they were going to call it," Butler said of what happened yesterday. "That was one of them situations in which a great player made a move, good officiating, and they called the call. And I was like, 'Oh, man, there is a God.' "

Knicks 100, Celtics 88: : Wilson Chandler scored a career-high 31 points and New York ended an eight-game losing streak against Boston, which lost for the fourth time in six games. Al Harrington added 30 for the Knicks (13-19), who hadn't beaten Boston at Madison Square Garden since March 23, 2005.

Paul Pierce scored 31 points for the Celtics (29-6). Ray Allen added 16, but Kevin Garnett, who seemed to hurt his right leg late in the third quarter, had only six points. Meanwhile, the defending NBA champions lacked their usual poise, frequently yelling at each other or the officials.

Raptors 108, Magic 102: : Anthony Parker scored a season-high 26 points and host Toronto (14-20) overcame a 39-point performance by Orlando's Dwight Howard.

The Magic (26-8) had won 17 of 20.

Pistons 88, Clippers 87: : Rodney Stuckey scored 24 points, Tayshaun Prince added 20 and visiting Detroit (21-11) got a critical goaltending call in the final seconds to win its seventh straight in a matchup of injury-depleted teams.

The Clippers (8-25) lost their seventh straight.

Lakers 100, Trail Blazers 86: : Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Los Angeles (27-5) beat visiting Portland (20-14) for its sixth consecutive victory and 15th straight at home.

Grizzlies 102, Mavericks 82: : O.J. Mayo scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, and host Memphis (11-23) beat Dallas (20-13) for the first time in 14 tries.

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