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James Has 44; So Does McGrady

Associated Press
Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page D03

LeBron James scored 44 points, igniting the Cleveland Cavaliers' comeback from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit in a 109-108 overtime defeat of the Hornets yesterday in New Orleans.

"It was time for me to shoot the ball and every time I shoot I feel like it is going in -- that's just my confidence level," James said.


LeBron James goes to the basket on the Hornets' Chris Andersen in the Cavs' 109-108 win in OT. "Every time I shoot I feel like it is going in," James said. (Bill Haber -- AP)

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Drew Gooden, who hadn't scored since the first quarter, clinched the victory with a three-point play after he rebounded James's miss and scored as he was fouled with 6.4 seconds left in the extra period.

Dan Dickau's driving floater that could have won the game for New Orleans in the final seconds bounced wide off the glass, and Gooden grabbed the rebound and hurled it toward the rafters as the buzzer sounded, ending Cleveland's 11-game road losing streak and two-game skid overall.

ROCKETS 99, JAZZ 85: Tracy McGrady scored 44 points, and Mike James had 14 of his 16 in the second half to lead visiting Houston past Utah.

Utah tried everything from switching defenders to changing defenses and nothing worked to stop McGrady. He continued to hit shot after shot and by the time he started missing in the fourth quarter, Houston was already comfortably ahead with a 12-point lead. McGrady made 14 of his first 17 shots and finished 15 for 21.

"It just comes with being really confident. No matter what type of defense you throw, how many guys you put on me, if my jumper is falling, you know there's really nothing you can do," said McGrady, who also had five steals. "It was great defense on their part. But it was just better offense."

KINGS 118, 76ERS 109: Chris Webber had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his first game back at Arco Arena since Sacramento traded him last month, but Cuttino Mobley scored 30 points in the Kings' victory over Philadelphia.

The sellout crowd showered Webber him with constant cheers, including a lengthy standing ovation during pregame introductions -- but the Kings controlled most of the second half with the up-tempo offense Webber so loved to play.

BULLS 94, GRIZZLIES 86: Eddy Curry scored 25 points and host Chicago nearly blew an 18-point fourth quarter lead before beating Memphis for its sixth straight victory.

Ben Gordon added 17 points for the Bulls, while Tyson Chandler had 14 rebounds and scored 13 points, including a pair of free throws with 12.4 seconds left to put Chicago up six.

The Bulls (38-31) improved to a season-best seven games over .500 and are chasing the Wizards for the fourth playoff spot in the East.

NETS 95, BOBCATS 91: Vince Carter scored 39 points and visiting New Jersey hung on to beat Charlotte.

Carter, who scored 15 of the Nets' 19 points in the first quarter, helped the Nets snap a two-game losing streak. The Nets have won six of their last eight and moved within three games of Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.


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