A night that almost ended in embarrassing fashion for LeBron James instead ended in heroism.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and surging Washington Wizards engaged in a high-scoring dogfight on Monday night, and it was almost decided by an ugly, bricked point-blank layup by Bron Bron—whose travel on the play went uncalled.
But after a pair of John Wall free throws, James made like Lloyd Christmas and totally redeemed himself with arguably the shot of the year—in what the NBA on TNT crew and others called the "game of the year."
James scored 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting and dished a career-high 17 assists, but fouled out early in overtime. Kevin Love, whose perfect long-range pass made LeBron's buzzer-beater possible, scored 39 to go with 12 rebounds.
But the final period belong to Kyrie Irving. The 24-year-old point guard scored 11 points in the extra time, including this re-creation of what's becoming his signature shot, to propel the Cavs to a 140-135 victory.
The Cavs snapped the Wizards' home winning streak at 17 games, but their performance left them optimistic.
"You have it circled on your schedule for a long time," said Bradley Beal, who scored a game-high 41 points. "That was definitely a test and a battle for us. We did a tremendous job of handling it."
"LeBron made a heck of a shot," Wall said, "that you probably make one in a million times."