NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at Toronto
(Wednesday, April 20th)
Final Score: Cleveland 104, Toronto 95
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - LeBron James recorded his fourth triple-double as Cleveland beat Toronto, 104-95. However, the Cavaliers still didn't qualify for the playoffs as New Jersey clinched the final spot in the Eastern Conference by virtue of a victory over Boston.
James scored 27 points, handed out 14 assists and pulled down 14 rebounds. Although Cleveland and New Jersey had the same record (42-40), the Nets won the season series and therefore held the tiebreaker over the Cavs. New Jersey will now open the postseason on Sunday at 3 p.m. (et) against Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and the top-seeded Miami Heat.
"It's worse (missing the playoffs) this year," James said. "Last year, with so much going on nobody thought we were going to make the playoffs and then we made a run at it and then we lost seven straight going down the end of the season. But this year, being ahead of the Central Division for a couple of months and then just falling, the coach getting fired, and new ownership, and guys getting hurt, it's more disappointing."
Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ira Newble contributed 20 points apiece in the win while Aleksandar Pavlovic netted all 12 of his points in the second quarter. Ilgauskas also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots and Eric Snow chipped in 10 points, eight assists and five boards for the Cavs.
"I just want to say that we got a great effort from everyone tonight," Cleveland coach Brendan Malone said. "They knew the importance of the game."
Leading Toronto, which was eliminated from playoff contention long ago, was Jalen Rose with 25 points and eight rebounds.
Omar Cook scored a career-high 19 points to go along with nine assists, Morris Peterson had 16 and nine boards and Chris Bosh chipped in 11 in the loss.
James was phenomenal early, falling just one rebound short of a triple-double in the first half. He collected 14 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the first two quarters as the Cavaliers built a double-digit advantage.
"I wanted to put us in a position to win," James said. "I thought tonight I did that and we needed some help that we didn't get."
Leading by four points after the first quarter, Cleveland broke the game open in the second frame, outscoring Toronto 36-25. The Cavs used a 12-7 run to pull in front 38-29 less than five minutes into the period before running off 11 of 13 points late in the frame. The teams went into intermission with Cleveland leading 62-47.
The Cavs came out of halftime on a 7-0 rush en route to a 16-2 burst to push their advantage to 29 points, 78-49. Cleveland cruised to a 91-68 lead after three quarters.
Toronto, which was outrebounded 49-37, never truly threatened, although it did cut the deficit to nine in the waning seconds.
These teams played to a 12-12 tie through the first five minutes and remained knotted at 19-19 through 10. However, the Cavs closed the frame on a 7-3 spurt to claim a 26-22 edge after 12 minutes.
The Cavs ended the season with two straight wins...Cleveland went 13-28 on the road this season...The Cavs lost 16 of their last 19 road games...The Raptors finished the season 22-19 at the Air Canada Centre and 33-49 overall...Cleveland won three of four meetings with Toronto this season...The Cavs went 12-19 after the All-Star break...Cleveland posted a seven-game improvement from last year's team that went 35-47...James torched Toronto for 56 points in the teams' last meeting.
04/21 00:38:03 ET