James has triple-double as Cavaliers stay alive
LeBron James made a new guarantee: Game 6. With Cleveland's wondrous season on the line, James had 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, and Mo Williams, who boldly predicted his team would come back and win this tight-as-can-be series, added 24 points in the Cavaliers' 112-102 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic in Game 5 last night.
LeBron James made a new guarantee: Game 6.
With Cleveland's wondrous season on the line, James had 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, and Mo Williams, who boldly predicted his team would come back and win this tight-as-can-be series, added 24 points in the Cavaliers' 112-102 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic in Game 5 last night.
It's back to Orlando for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals tomorrow night.
You expected anything else?
"I mean, this was a big game for us," James said. "You never want to disappoint the home crowd by not coming out and playing as hard as you can. It was win or go home."
The Magic overcame a 22-point deficit but missed their first opportunity to close out the Cavaliers, who are trying to become just the ninth team since 1947 to rally and win a series after being down 3-1. Orlando will have two more tries to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995.
For Cleveland, a city banking on James to deliver a championship after a 45-year drought, the MVP was again in a league of his own.
James scored 21 points in the second half - 17 in the fourth quarter - and had a hand in 29 of Cleveland's 34 points in the final 12 minutes.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 29 for Orlando, and Dwight Howard had 24 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:22 remaining when he was called for his sixth personal foul while trying to stop James on a drive.
Not even Superman was denying James.
And this time, Williams, his trusty sidekick all season, showed up to help him, as did Zydrunas Ilgauskas (16 points), Delonte West (13) and reserve Daniel Gibson (11), who made two huge three-pointers in the fourth quarter.
"We'll be back here for Game 7," Gibson told the crowd afterward.
The Magic have twice ended series on the road this postseason, winning a Game 6 in Philadelphia and a Game 7 in Boston to make the conference finals. For a while it looked like Orlando might do it again, taking a 79-78 lead into the fourth quarter.
James, though, had other plans, and the Magic lost to the Cavaliers for just the fourth time in their last 15 meetings.
* Xavier junior Derrick Brown said he will stay in the NBA draft and not return for his senior season at Xavier.
Brown told ESPN.com of his decision after the first session of NBA draft combine in Chicago.
"I'm not going back to school," Brown told the Web site.
* Mark Cuban is suing the Securities and Exchange Commission for access to documents detailing the insider trading case against the Dallas Mavericks owner.
The Dallas billionaire filed requests for records in December under the Freedom of Information Act. That was a month after the SEC sued Cuban, accusing him of selling shares of Internet search engine company Mamma.com after receiving confidential information about a private offering.
Cuban's lawsuit claims the SEC improperly rejected some requests, didn't respond quickly enough to appeals of rejections and failed to conduct adequate searches for some records.
* Referee Violet Palmer was hired as coordinator of women's basketball officials for the West Coast Conference and will remain with the NBA, where she has worked for 12 seasons.
Palmer became the first woman to officiate a major U.S. professional sport when she made her NBA debut on Oct. 31, 1997. She has spent the last 12 seasons in the NBA, and officiated four playoff games and more than 700 regular season games. She also worked in the CBA and WNBA.
* The surprising Eastern Conference finals have delivered strong ratings for TNT.
Through four games of the Cleveland-Orlando series, the network was averaging a 5.2 national rating, up 27 percent from last year, when it carried the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
Orlando's 116-114 overtime victory Tuesday that gave the Magic a 3-1 lead over the top-seeded Cavaliers drew 10.1 million viewers, making it the most watched NBA playoff game in cable TV history. The Lakers and Denver Nuggets drew 9.9 million for ESPN for Game 4 of their series. *