Quentin Richardson scored 25 points, and Corey Maggette had six of his 22 points in the final 1:16 as the Los Angeles Clippers beat Cleveland 90-80 to hand the Cavaliers their 33rd consecutive road loss.
The Clippers outscored the Cavaliers 10-1 to finish the game.
“If I could get out there and play for them (at the end of games), I would,” Cavaliers coach Paul Silas said. “We need guys to concentrate more— stop making errors down the stretch. It’s just killing us. It takes maturity to close out games.”
The 18-year-old James shot 2-for-13 for four points and sat out the final 6:46. He also had six rebounds and eight assists and didn’t attempt a free throw.
“LeBron was struggling tonight,” Silas said. “(Darius) Miles came in with energy. I just wanted to take a look at other people. He was in the game on the bench, cheering other people on.”
Silas and James conferred briefly in the dressing room after the game, and James later said he wasn’t upset about being on the bench down the stretch.
“I was cheering my teammates on and hoping they got a victory for me,” he said. “The coach makes those decisions. We have a lot of games to go, and most of the time I’ll be in there in the fourth, so I’m not worried about it.”
Cleveland’s road losing streak is the third-longest in NBA history behind Sacramento’s 43-game streak in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons and New Jersey’s 34-game streak in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 campaigns.
It was the eighth consecutive loss overall for the Cavaliers since they beat the Clippers 103-95 in Cleveland on Nov. 18.
Rookie Chris Kaman had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers (6-8), who have won two in a row after losing six straight.
“I’m definitely proud of him,” Richardson said of Kaman. “He gave us a big boost.”
The Clippers won despite being outrebounded 55-39.
“We kept pushing, kept fighting, got some breaks here and there and capitalized on them,” Maggette said.
A basket by Miles and a free throw by Ilgauskas cut the Clippers’ lead to 80-79 with 2:05 remaining, but the Cavaliers would score only one more point.
Predrag Drobnjak’s jumper and a free throw by Maggette put the Clippers ahead by four with 1:16 left, and Maggette’s 3-pointer with 47 seconds to play clinched the victory.
“They’re a young team. We went through that when I first got here, we couldn’t finish games,” Richardson said.
Davis made a 3-pointer to cap a 13-2 run to begin the third quarter and give the Cavaliers a 61-52 lead.
The Clippers scored the next eight points to draw within one, and the Cavaliers led 67-65 entering the final period.
A basket by Bobby Simmons with 3:48 left before halftime capped a 17-4 run and put the Clippers on top 41-39—their first lead of the game.
Richardson had nine points during the spurt and 14 in the second period, which ended with the Clippers leading 50-48.
The Cavaliers began the game the same way they started the third quarter, taking a 14-2 lead in the opening four minutes.
Cleveland led 31-22 entering the second quarter.
The last player to get 20 or more rebounds against the Clippers was Antonio McDyess, who had 21 while playing for Denver on April 12, 1997. … The Clippers played without forward Chris Wilcox (strained left groin) and Eddie House (sore left foot). Both are listed as day-to-day. … The Cavaliers were also shorthanded, suiting up 11 players. DeSagana Diop has torn cartilage in his right knee and might need surgery. He was injured in Saturday night’s double-overtime loss to Memphis. … Clippers F Elton Brand, sidelined five weeks with a broken right foot, hopes to be playing within a week. “It feels great,” Brand said. “I don’t have a target date. I’m just looking at conditioning.” An X-ray taken Tuesday showed Brand’s foot was healed. He hasn’t played since getting 21 points, 15 rebounds, eight blocked shots andfive assists in a season-opening 109-100 loss to Seattle in Japan on Oct. 30.