for this game

Cavaliers' charge crushes Clippers

Mar 11, 2009 - 6:05 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Clippers played three solid quarters. The Cleveland Cavaliers played one. Guess who won?

The Cavaliers missed their first 16 shots from long range and somehow pulled it together in the final quarter to jar the Clippers, 87-83, on Tuesday.

Mo Williams drilled a shot from beyond the arc on the left wing with 6.6 seconds left to give Cleveland an 85-83 lead and its 50th victory - tying it with the Los Angeles Lakers for the league's best record.

The Cavaliers outscored the Clippers, 35-16, over the final 12 minutes.

"This is a great character win," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "We did not panic. Mo stepped up and hit a big three for us."

The Clippers' last chance went awry when Zach Randolph air-balled a 30-footer despite the fact that a couple seconds remained on the clock. Williams hit a pair of free throws to seal the Clippers' fate.

"It's one thing about Mo he never thinks about the last shot he missed or the last one he made," LeBron James said. "He gets right back. He missed shot after shot after shot but you know if he gets a good look at it in crunch time he's going to nail it."

Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy was not happy with Randolph's shot.

"The last shot was definitely not designed for anyone," Dunleavy said. "We also did not do a good job of setting screens but we had six seconds, which was plenty of time to set up a play and get to the rim. I guess Zach did not realize the time and just took the shot."

James had a triple-double, the 22nd of his career, and led the way back as Cleveland won in surprising fashion. James had 32 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

"This was a phenomenal performance by LeBron," Brown said. "We obviously were pretty flat throughout most of the game. For him to stay with it not only physically but mentally, he just kept everybody focused."

A 21-5 run had brought Cleveland within 78-75 before Baron Davis knocked down a pair of foul shots. Joe Smith made a spectacular shot off a feed by James to cut the deficit to 80-77.

The Clippers turned the ball over and Daniel Gibson drilled a three to tie the game at 80-80 with less than two minutes left.

James, who had his second straight triple-double, was fouled and hit both foul shots to give Cleveland an 82-80 advantage. It was its first lead since 7:20 left in the first quarter, when James hit a free throw to make it 11-10.

Eric Gordon then turned the ball over, slipping in the lane on a drive to the basket. James missed a jumper and Randolph rebounded.

Randolph kicked the ball out to Al Thornton, who drilled a 3-pointer to give the Clippers an 83-82 lead, setting the stage for Williams.

The first three quarters of the game were a pure case of role reversal as the Clippers dominated the Cavaliers, who assumed command by breaking a 12-11 game open with a 12-6 run to take a 24-17 lead after one quarter.

The Clippers continued to play well and built the lead to an impressive - if not astonishing -- 46-34 lead at break. Solid defense combined with cold shooting by Cleveland led to Los Angeles holding that advantage.

The Clippers somehow kept increasing the advantage and held a 69-52 margin after three quarters on Chris Kaman's tip that concluded the scoring for the quarter.

It was just a question of whether 12 solid minutes of basketball by the Cavaliers could undo what the Clippers had done over the first 36 minutes of the game.

"We had three turnovers at the half and 12 in the second," Davis said. "In order to be a better team, we have to hold the ball and finish our shots. We have to get to the point where we are being aggressive and only worry about us."