LeBron James sits out finale to rest for playoffs, Cavaliers down Wizards 113-108 in overtime



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CLEVELAND — Shawn Marion was mobbed after his final NBA regular-season game.

He and the Cavaliers are hoping for a bigger celebration ahead.

When the final horn sounded, signaling the end to the regular season, the Cavs rushed the floor and swarmed Marion, whose steal and dunk in the final seconds sealed Cleveland's 113-108 overtime win.

He was the hero and the Cavs, who have their eyes on an NBA title, sent him off in style.

"It was kind of fitting," Cleveland coach David Blatt said. "They love the guy."

LeBron James spent the night dressed as if he was headed to a business meeting, not the postseason, and the Cavs only played their other starters in the first half as they got ready for this weekend's playoff opener.

Matthew Dellavedova scored 18 with 12 assists for Cleveland. His two free throws with 9.1 seconds gave Cleveland a 111-108 lead, and Marion, a 15-year veteran who will retire once the Cavs' run is done, sealed it with his steal and breakaway dunk. He was then playfully mobbed by his teammates, who are hoping to storm the floor again in coming weeks.

Cavs coach David Blatt believes Marion, who won a title with Dallas, belongs in the Hall of Fame.

"To make a play like that at the end of the game, whether it was an important game or not, just shows you what kind of special quality that guy has," Blatt said, who enjoyed his team's reaction. "That was very, very nice."

Martell Webster scored 20 and Rasual Butler 17 for the Wizards, who lost in double-overtime Tuesday at Indiana.

Kevin Love scored 19 before halftime and Kyrie Irving sat the final 29 minutes as Cleveland took advantage of the throwaway game to get extra rest before hosting the Boston Celtics in Game 1 on Sunday.

Washington coach Randy Wittman took the same approach, sitting star guard John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce and Nene. Starting center Marcin Gortat only played 14 minutes. The Wizards will open at Toronto on Saturday.

Wittman was pleased with the performance from his reserves.

"Good for our guys," he said. "I was proud of them from start to finish. Some guys who don't have an opportunity to play a whole lot got that chance tonight, and it was good. I really liked the energy and the intensity they showed. They did well."

Iman Shumpert added 18 for the Cavs, who trailed by 15 in the first quarter and 79-74 entering the fourth. But Shumpert and Dellavedova rallied the Cavs, combining for 17 in the fourth.

James didn't mind sitting out the finale since it would give him another day to recharge his 30-year-old body before the Cavs begin their chase for the city's first professional sports championship since 1964.

A two-time title winner with Miami, James has been encouraged by his team's growth. After starting 19-20, the Cavs, changed by the additions of Shumpert, J.R. Smith and center Timofey Mozgov in trades, went 34-9 after Jan. 15.

"We've been playing the right way — win, lose or draw — we've played the right way," James said. "We've stuck to our system and I think it's built some great habits for us going into the postseason."

The Wizards, too, are confident. Wall and Beal made their postseason debuts in 2014, and Wittman believes they'll be better prepared this time.

"That was their first experience and it should help them a lot in these playoffs," Wittman said. "Also having Paul (Pierce) this time will be a plus for everyone."

TIP-INS

Wizards: Guard Otto Porter sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and did not return. Wittman doesn't believe the injury is serious. ... Wall finished second in the league in assists with a career-high 10.0 per game, trailing only Chris Paul 10.2. ... Gortat was the only Washington player to appear in all 82 games. ... The Wizards finished with their highest-win total since 1978-79.

Cavaliers: James spoke briefly about the incident in which Pacers forward Chris Copeland was stabbed in a New York nightclub and Atlanta's Thabo Sefolosha broke his leg in a scuffle with police. James said when he's out, he follows some simple rules. "I don't bother nobody," he said. "I have a good time, just like everybody else. I stay to myself and my friends and I always leave before everybody else and I'm very responsible. I understand that target that we have on our back as athletes and as professional athletes and the jealousy that comes with that sometimes when you're out. So, you just got to be as responsible as possible." ... The Cavs won 20 of their last 21 at home.

UP NEXT

Wizards: At Toronto on Saturday.

Cavaliers: Host Boston on Sunday.

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