WASHINGTON (AP) – It was Damon Jones’ turn to hit the game-winning shot, and it put the Cleveland Cavaliers into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
Jones’ baseline jumper with 4.8 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Cavaliers a 114-113 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night, Cleveland’s third one-point victory in a series that ended with the visitors celebrating in a pile near midcourt and left the home team stunned into silence.
LeBron James, who made the winning shots in Games 3 and 5, scored 32 points as his first playoff series ended in success. He outdueled Gilbert Arenas, who scored 36 points and sent the game to overtime with a long 3-pointer – then missed two free throws in overtime that gave Cleveland the chance to win.
The Cavaliers won two road games in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history and won a playoff series for the first time since 1993, when James was 8 years old.
They will have little time to celebrate. They open the second round at Detroit on Sunday.
Nuggets part ways with general manager
DENVER – Kiki Vandeweghe won’t be the one fixing the Denver Nuggets this summer. Team owner Stan Kroenke said Friday that he’s not going to extend his general manager’s contract.
Vandeweghe reshaped the Nuggets and returned them to respectability after taking over as GM on Aug. 9, 2001, but speculation about his future ran rampant all season as Kroenke stayed silent regarding an extension.
Thed 47-year-old Vandeweghe met with Kroenke on Friday, four days after the Nuggets bowed out of the playoffs in the first round for the third straight season.
“After meeting with Kiki today, we agreed his contract will not be extended. We appreciate the time he spent with the Nuggets and wish him good luck as he seeks out his next challenge,” Kroenke said in a statement.
“We remain focused on attaining our goal of establishing a team that consistently competes at the highest levels and will make every effort to achieve that goal.”
Kroenke didn’t say if he had anyone in mind to replace Vandeweghe.
Although there’s no real urgency to get a personnel man in place because the Nuggets don’t own a first-round selection in the June 28 draft, there are many issues confronting the club this offseason.