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James' late foul costs Cavaliers against Pacers

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

By MICHAEL MAROT

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- LeBron James did it all Tuesday night.

He scored 47 points, had seven rebounds, four assists and had the Pacers crowd oohing and aahing all night. So, of course, he also made the decisive play -- for the wrong team.

James was called for a foul with 0.2 seconds left on Danny Granger, who hit a free throw to give Indiana a 96-95 victory over the Cavaliers. James started walking toward the locker room before the final buzzer sounded.

It was a jarring loss for the Cavs, who dropped two straight for the first time this season.

James was brilliant, but ended up on the short end of a call he clearly disagreed with.

It appeared James would send the game into overtime when the Cavs opted for an alley-oop off an inbounds pass with 0.4 seconds left. James never got to the ball, but Granger was called for a foul and James made both free throws to tie the score at 95.

Then the Pacers tried the same play. This time Granger was on the receiving end, James was chasing and the NBA's second-leading scorer was called for the foul. Granger made the first and intentionally missed the second as James walked toward the locker room in disgust.

Troy Murphy led the short-handed and nicked-up Pacers with 18 points. Granger, playing with a sore knee, finished with 16.

Indiana also was without three key players -- Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy and Marquis Daniels.

But on a night James turned Conseco Fieldhouse into his own personal showcase, the Pacers ended their nine-game losing streak to the Cavs and won for only the second time in six games.

The wild finish was the culmination of a game in which neither team led by more than eight.

Indiana trailed 68-67 after three quarters, but opened the fourth with seven straight points to take control.

The Pacers never trailed again and the Cavs couldn't get even until James' nifty pass to the cutting Wally Szczerbiak for a lineup made it 93-93 with 20.8 seconds left.

Indiana tried to play for the final shot, and it appeared T.J. Ford had hit the winner with his 17-foot fadeaway with 0.8 seconds left.

Notes: Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, attended the game as did NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird, the Pacers president, and new Colts coach Jim Caldwell. ... Swingman Sasha Pavlovic missed his first game since spraining his right ankle Sunday. ... Newly named All-Star Mo Williams had 15 points and six rebounds for Cleveland.



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