James' 27, 14 and 14 trumped by Nets' victory

TORONTO (AP) -- LeBron James' triple-double wasn't enough to put

the Cleveland Cavaliers into the playoffs.

Active Postseason Droughts

Team

Seasons

Last playoff app.

Warriors

11

'93-94

Clippers

8

'96-97

Cavaliers

7

'97-98

James had 27 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds to lead the

Cavaliers to a 104-95 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday

night, but the New Jersey Nets defeated Boston to capture the

eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland and New Jersey finished with the same record, 42-40,

but the Cavaliers didn't have the tiebreaker because the Nets won

the season series.

"I just wanted to put us in a position to win. I did that. We

needed some help, but we didn't get it," James said. "We did our

part tonight, but we didn't do our part at other times and it came

back and got us."

James did what he could, and by halftime was only one rebound

short of a triple-double as Cleveland led by 15. The 20-year-old

recorded his fourth triple-double of the season by grabbing a

rebound just 23 seconds into the second half, and the Cavaliers

began the half with a 16-2 run that included two 3-pointers by

James.

His driving layup gave Cleveland a 29-point lead -- its biggest

of the game -- with 5:12 left.

James said before the game that he would be checking out the

scoreboard.

As LeBron Goes, So Don't The Cavs

2005

James' ppg

Cavs' W-L

Feb.

26.2

5.7

March

29.9

6-9

April

32.7

5-7

"When we first got the score Boston was up 17, then they were

up 10, then 5, 4 and it just kept going down," said James, who

dropped his head when the final buzzer sounded to his game.

"This is not the end of the world. I got a family at home to

take care of that brings a smile to my face every day," James

said. "This is just basketball. I do this because I love to do

this, but I got family members at home. That is what is most

important."

Cleveland went 4-7 down the stretch, spoiling what many

considered to be a breakthrough season for James after he earned

Rookie of the Year honors in 2003-04.

James suggested the team is in turmoil.

"There were some missed opportunities on the court and some

distractions off the court. It always catches up with you when you

are not doing things right," James said.

Last time in Toronto, James' 56-point effort was wasted. Point

guard Jeff McInnis didn't play in that game, a benching that helped

lead to coach Paul Silas' firing by new owner Dan Gilbert the next

day.

Youngest to reach 3,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists

Player

Yrs.-Days

L. James, Cavaliers

20-110

K. Bryant, Lakers

22-161

M. Johnson, Lakers

22-231

T. McGrady, Rockets

22-233

McInnis did not accompany the team to Toronto this time.

On Tuesday, McInnis started against Boston but didn't score in

six minutes before being replaced by Eric Snow. McInnis didn't

rejoin his teammates on the bench for the second half until midway

through the third quarter, and when he was there, he remained in

his seat with a towel wrapped around his head.

The Cavs said he had a "viral syndrome," but didn't give any

other specifics. McInnis said his stomach hurt while declining

interviews after Cleveland's 100-86 win over the Celtics.

Snow said missing the playoffs will serve as a lesson.

"If this doesn't drive you to put in your work in the summer

and come back and cut out all your agendas, and realize that this

is still a team game, I don't know what will," Snow said. "You've

got to play team ball."

Toronto fans were rooting for Cleveland to make the playoffs.

One fan had a sign that read: "LeBron make Vince golf this

season!" in reference to Vince Carter, who is reviled in Toronto

because he demanded a trade and acknowledged he didn't give it his

all with the Raptors.

Fans cheered when the videoboard showed an injured Carter going

to the locker room during the New Jersey-Boston game. They also

cheered when they showed footage of Carter missing a layup.

Jalen Rose had 25 points for the lottery-bound Raptors, who

finished 33-49 -- the third straight year they've missed the

playoffs.

"I'm so tired of losing it's unreal," Toronto forward Chris

Bosh said. "I guess it's just a test of character. We just have to

make sure we pass it."Game notes
Snow went 3-for-14 from the field. He played 47 minutes

because of McInnis' absence. ... Cleveland interim coach Brendan

Malone didn't want his players checking out the score in the Nets

game. "I hope they are looking at the rim rather than the

scoreboard." ... The Cavaliers went 8-10 under Malone. ... James

was one assist shy of tying a career-high. ... Comedians Damon and

Shawn Wayans sat courtside.