May 20, 2009

NBA: Orlando 107, Cleveland 106

A 3-point shot by Rashard Lewis with 14.7 seconds left Wednesday allowed Orlando to overcome an amazing game by LeBron James and defeat Cleveland 107-106.

James made 20-of-30 shots from the field, played 40 minutes and scored a career playoff high 49 points.

Nevertheless, the Cavaliers lost in the playoffs for the first time this season in the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals and now face a tough battle against a team that rallied from a 15-point deficit at intermission.

Mo Williams made a shot from beyond midcourt at the buzzer of the second quarter to give the Cavaliers a 63-48 halftime lead, but Orlando limited Cleveland to 19 points in the third period and entered the fourth quarter trailing by only four.

James, who suffered leg cramps in the game's final moments, scored the last of his points with 26 seconds to go -- hitting a layup and a free throw for a 106-104 lead.

Lewis then hit his shot from long range that left him with 22 points for the game.

After a time out, James was sealed off on the baseline and had to give up the ball. It wound up in the hands of Delonte West, who missed a 3-pointer.

The rebound wound as a jump ball between James and Hedo Turkoglu with a second remaining. James tapped it back to Williams, whose quick jump shot hit the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Dwight Howard scored 30 for Orlando, which shot 55 percent from the field in its first game since knocking the defending champion Boston Celtics out of the playoffs in Game 7 of their semifinal series.

Cleveland will host the second game of this matchup Friday.