Was it a walk?
A referee disagreed yesterday.
James was whistled for taking an extra step while driving for a potential tying layup with 2.3 seconds left, and his visiting Cleveland Cavaliers (27-6) lost, 80-77, to the Eastern Conference-worst Washington Wizards (7-25) despite wiping out a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
"Bad call," said James, who had 30 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. "We all make mistakes, and I think I got the wrong end of the bargain. I watched it 10 times after the game, and it was clearly a good play."
James argued that he felt he was fouled as he released the shot, which went in.
His biggest beef, though, was with what he considered a misunderstanding of his move to the basket.
"You have your trademark play, and that's one of my plays. It kind of looks like a travel because it's slow, and it's kind of a high-step, but it's a one-two just as fluent as any other one-two in this league," James said. "It's a perfectly legal play, something I've always done."
Indeed, Washington's Caron Butler - who scored 19 points and guarded James most of the game, including on that closing play - remembered that same move, without an official's call, from one of the teams' recent playoff meetings.
"I definitely knew he traveled, but I didn't know they were going to call it," Butler said of what happened yesterday. "That was one of them situations in which a great player made a move, good officiating, and they called the call. And I was like, 'Oh, man, there is a God.' "
Knicks 100, Celtics 88: : Wilson Chandler scored a career-high 31 points and New York ended an eight-game losing streak against Boston, which lost for the fourth time in six games. Al Harrington added 30 for the Knicks (13-19), who hadn't beaten Boston at Madison Square Garden since March 23, 2005.
Paul Pierce scored 31 points for the Celtics (29-6). Ray Allen added 16, but Kevin Garnett, who seemed to hurt his right leg late in the third quarter, had only six points. Meanwhile, the defending NBA champions lacked their usual poise, frequently yelling at each other or the officials.
The Magic (26-8) had won 17 of 20.
Pistons 88, Clippers 87: : Rodney Stuckey scored 24 points, Tayshaun Prince added 20 and visiting Detroit (21-11) got a critical goaltending call in the final seconds to win its seventh straight in a matchup of injury-depleted teams.
The Clippers (8-25) lost their seventh straight.