Jason Richardson scored a season-high 35 points, topping LeBron James's 34 and leading the Golden State Warriors over host Cleveland, 103-100, last night, dimming the Cavaliers' playoff chances.
Cavaliers coach Paul Silas called the game a must-win to maintain realistic hopes for the playoffs. Cleveland dropped to three games behind the idle Celtics for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers, who have lost four straight and eight of nine, were outplayed the entire game, but nearly pulled off a comeback.
Down, 97-92, James hit a deep three after a Warriors turnover. Richardson responded with a 15-footer, then held his finger to his lips as if he was silencing the screaming crowd.
Ira Newble's 3-point play made it 99-98 with 47 seconds left. Richardson hit two free throws, then followed James's drive with another pair of free throws.
With 16 seconds left, Kedrick Brown inbounded to James, who wanted to go for a quick 2-pointer. But James temporarily lost possession of the ball, then was double-teamed. So he passed to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who missed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to end it.
Mike Dunleavy scored 23 points and Troy Murphy added 18 for the Warriors, who have won 9 of 11.
Carlos Boozer scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds.
Knicks 86, 76ers 75 -- Stephon Marbury had 20 points and 12 assists to lift visiting New York. Kurt Thomas scored 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting and had 14 rebounds for New York, which moved a half-game ahead of Boston for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Former Sixer Nazr Mohammed added 16 points.
Samuel Dalembert scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, his fifth double-double in his last six games, for the Sixers, who have lost two straight. Dalembert also set a career high with nine blocked shots.
Heat 97, Bulls 83 -- Eddie Jones scored 21 points, and Caron Butler had 19 points and 14 rebounds in Miami's victory at Chicago. Miami, a half-game behind Milwaukee for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, lost rookie guard Dwyane Wade to a ribcage injury late in the second quarter.
Mavericks 124, Suns 103 -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 34 points, Antawn Jamison had 22, and Dallas beat Phoenix for its league-leading 33d victory at home. Michael Finley had 20 points and Steve Nash added 9 points and 14 assists for the Mavericks. They shot a season-best 61 percent to improve to 33-5 at home. Hornets 94, Trail Blazers 81 -- P.J. Brown scored 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting to lead visiting New Orleans, which snapped a four-game losing streak.