for this game

James leads shorthanded Cavs over Wizards

Feb 23, 2008 - 5:44 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James usually is a one-man show. But on Friday, he literally was all alone.

Playing alongside a depleted roster, James nailed the go-ahead free throws in the waning seconds and Damon Jones added a season-high 27 points as the shorthanded Cleveland Cavaliers held on for a 90-89 victory over the Washington Wizards.

It was another remarkable performance by James, who just missed his third straight triple-double - collecting 33 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

"I've said this a million times, LeBron James is the MVP," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He was phenomenal in every category. Tremendous leadership skills that he showed tonight in getting this group of guys together and playing the right way. Anytime, you have a guy like LeBron, you have a chance to beat anybody."

Jones shot 10-of-16 from the field, including 7-of-11 on 3-pointers, to give the Cavaliers a much-needed boost.

"Honestly, I spoke to (Jones) at shootaround, and I told him for us to win this game, he had to score 20 to 25 points," James said. "He scored 27, so I guess I was wrong."

"My mindset was just to go out and be able to contribute," Jones said. "LeBron created; I was open. Devin (Brown) created; I was open. (Zydrunas Ilgauskas) got double-teamed; I was open. I was just glad to be able to make some shots and help us get a win."

Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson combined to make four free throws, giving Washington an 89-88 lead with one minute left. James answered a few possessions later with a hard drive to the basket, resulting in the clinching foul shots with 7.8 seconds to go.

"We're frustrated," Haywood said. "They're shorthanded, but we've been shorthanded all year long. No one cares. We've got to fight through it and we've got to go get a win (Saturday)."

Stevenson's high floater fell off the front of the rim as time expired on Washington.

"It's frustrating to lose against anybody, whether you're shorthanded or not," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They have a great player (in James). He's a monster. He creates so much for everyone else."

It was the first game since Thursday's three-team, 11-player mega-deal by Cleveland, which sent guards Larry Hughes and Shannon Brown along with forwards Drew Gooden and Cedric Simmons to the Chicago Bulls for center Ben Wallace and forward Joe Smith.

The Cavaliers also received the Bulls' second-round pick in 2009.

In addition, Cleveland acquired guards Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West from the Seattle SuperSonics for forwards Ira Newble and Donyell Marshall at Thursday's trade deadline.

However, the newly acquired talent spent the game with Cleveland's brass in a luxury suite because none of the players can play until each has passed a physical.

"We're here to win a championship," James said. "That's always been my goal. I'm looking forward to the new guys getting acclimated to our team."

The Cavaliers also signed forward Kaniel Dickens and guard Billy Thomas from the Colorado 14ers of the D-League to fill the holes in their roster.

"I've never been in a situation where we called guys up just to be able to play a game," Cavaliers guard Eric Snow said. "It's the NBA; I can't say I'm surprised."

Dickens played just seven minutes and missed his lone shot while Thomas scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting - all 3-pointers - for Cleveland, which also was without guard Daniel Gibson. He is out four to six weeks with a severe ankle sprain.

"It was tough," James said. "We had guys in the wrong spots and time and spacing wasn't right all the time. We worked hard and we did it with effort."

Antawn Jamison had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who continued to play without injured stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.