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NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at Washington

(Thursday, March 13th)

Final Score: Washington 101, Cleveland 99

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Caron Butler scored 19 points in his first action since early February, as the Washington Wizards held on to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 101-99, at the Verizon Center.

Butler last played on February 5, and had missed 16 straight games with a partially torn labrum in his left hip. He returned to play on his 28th birthday.

"It was really good to see him knock down his first two shots," Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan said. "He was jacked up to play. It gives us a whole other dimension with him out there."

Antawn Jamison added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who sit two games behind idle Toronto for fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. Darius Songaila gave 15 points and Brendan Haywood 14. DeShawn Stevenson scored 13, while Nick Young and Antonio Daniels ended with 10 points each.

LeBron James poured in 25 points for the Cavs, who sit five games behind idle Orlando for the third spot in the East. Sasha Pavlovic had a season-high 24 points, including a season-high five three-pointers, while Delonte West had 10 points and seven assists.

A 10-3 Cleveland run brought the Cavs within one possession, 95-93, with 93 ticks left. Devin Brown closed out the scoring with four straight points.

Jamison and Joe Smith exchanged free throws, as the Cavs were again within two with 50 seconds left. Butler then missed a three-pointer, but with Cleveland still down a pair and James driving the lane, he was called for an offensive foul. Cleveland lost possession with 19.4 seconds left to play.

On the ensuing Washington possession, West was called for a technical foul for grabbing Daniels' jersey away from the play. Daniels went on to hit the shot. On the inbounds, Daniels was fouled again and hit both from the stripe to make it a five-point game with 18.8 seconds remaining.

A pair of free throws from James made it a one-possession game, 99-96, before Butler hit 1-of-2 from the line to make it a four-point cushion.

Damon Jones proceeded to drive down the court and nail a desperation three from the right wing to make it 100-99 with eight seconds left.

Cleveland immediately fouled Daniels, who went 1-for-2 to give the Wizards a two-point lead with 7.2 seconds on the clock.

On the inbounds pass, James got the ball and dribbled around the top of the arc before releasing a three-pointer that clanked off the front of the rim and gave Washington the victory.

"I felt good about the shot," James said. "I wanted to win. I didn't want to go into overtime. I went for the win. All my teammates knew I was going to go for the win because I told them I wanted to win."

Cleveland began the fourth quarter shooting 1-for-12 from the field.

The Cavs trailed 27-24 after the first quarter despite 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from Pavlovic in the frame.

Cleveland used a 17-2 second quarter run en route to a 54-46 lead at the break.

The lead see-sawed for most of the third, until a pair of free throws from Butler and a Haywood dunk made it 66-62 in Washington's favor with 6:35 left in the stanza.

Moments later though, a Brown layup and two free throws from West tied the game at 68.

The teams exchanged buckets and a Wally Szczerbiak trey made it a one-point game, 80-79, heading into the final 12 minutes of play.

Consecutive layups from Songaila and Andray Blatche made it 84-79 with about 10 minutes left in regulation.

Still up five a few minutes later, a Songaila three-point play put the Wizards up 89-81.

James answered with a jumper, but a Stevenson three-pointer made it a nine- point game with just under 4 1/2 minutes to go.

Game Notes

Cleveland's Anderson Varejao had 12 boards and four points...Thursday's game was the fourth and final matchup of the campaign between the clubs. The teams split the meetings...Cleveland had won two straight meetings coming into Thursday's showdown.

03/14 02:32:18 ET

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