NBA Game Summary - Milwaukee at Cleveland
(Wednesday, March 31st)
Final Score: Cleveland 101, Milwaukee 98
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James had another solid all-around effort with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and his steal in the final seconds preserved Cleveland's 101-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
James scored the go-ahead layup with 17.4 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers held on to win for the 16th time in 18 games. Mo Williams added 21 points for Cleveland, which has a magic number of two to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Antawn Jamison totaled 12 points and 12 rebounds, while J.J. Hickson scored 14 for the Cavs.
"Milwaukee did a nice job against us tonight," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "They had a legitimate chance to win the game. Our guys had to fight, stay focused and trust one another down the stretch in order to get the win, and they did it. I think this game helped us, helped our confidence and helped that trust factor or trust level increase or go up."
John Salmons had 28 points and seven assists for the Bucks, who won their previous two games. Milwaukee remains in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of Miami. Andrew Bogut chipped in 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Williams drove along the left baseline, and then from under the basket, passed to a cutting James for the go-ahead bucket.
"It's a set that we run and we kind of save it, keep it in the bag," James said. "I knew it was a set they weren't looking for, one that we hadn't run all day. When Mo turned the corner and gauged the defense, I was able to cut back door and get a layup."
The Bucks turned the ball over on the ensuing possession thanks to an overturned call due to instant replay. A bounce pass went to Salmons, but Hickson knocked it loose. Milwaukee was first awarded possession, but the call was changed when replays showed the ball hit off Salmons and went out of bounds with 13.3 seconds left.
Two free throws by Williams extended the margin to 99-95 less than a second later, but Salmons banged in a three from the top of the arc with 8.6 on the clock for a 99-98 game.
Williams went back to the line with eight seconds left and made the pair of attempts before the Bucks raced back up the court. Luke Ridnour tried a bounce pass to Ersan Ilyasova, but James picked off the ball and dribbled the other way to run out the clock.
"We feel like we can play with anybody. We feel like we let an opportunity go," Salmons said. "We feel if we come in and play our game and compete, we can play with anybody and that's what we're looking for in the playoffs."
Salmons scored 11 in the first quarter to help Milwaukee grab a 30-29 edge after 12 minutes. It remained tight throughout the second with the Cavs taking a 52-50 lead at the half.
The Cavaliers widened their lead to 10 points, at 77-67, on a James free throw in the final minute of the third quarter. Cleveland went to the fourth holding a 77-71 advantage.
Cavs forward Anderson Varejao sat out because of a sore left hamstring...Cleveland has won seven of the last eight meetings, and five in a row over the Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena...The Cavaliers own the NBA's best home record at 33-4...Delonte West had 12 points for the Cavs...Bucks guard Brandon Jennings had just five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
03/31 23:53:51 ET