Not that it wasn't obvious by now, but LeBron James really makes the Cleveland Cavaliers go. With the superstar on the bench for the fourth straight game, the Cavs lost again Wednesday night _ this time 105-86 to a Washington Wizards team with payback on its mind.
James and the Cavaliers have eliminated the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons. The Wizards probably know how the Cavs must feel _ last spring they were without their own stars, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.
``It felt good to get a win against Cleveland after they swept us in the playoffs,'' Butler said. ``Sitting on the sidelines with (Arenas), going through that depressing stage. Whenever you see them, you're itching to play against them.''
Butler scored 27 points for Washington, which sent Cleveland to its first five-game losing streak since Feb. 22-March 1, 2006.
In Wednesday night's other NBA games, it was: Boston 113, Philadelphia 103; Phoenix 136, Toronto 123; Chicago 91, Charlotte 82; New York 100, New Jersey 93; Detroit 91, New Orleans 76; Houston 105, Memphis 92; San Antonio 97, Dallas 95; the Los Angeles Lakers 111, Denver 107; Golden State 120, Milwaukee 90; and Seattle 95, the Los Angeles Clippers 88.
Antawn Jamison had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Brendan Haywood finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
``I've seen the guy the last two playoffs. I didn't miss the guy at all,'' Jamison said. ``It actually felt pretty good. I'm good friends with him. I wish him a speedy recovery. I'm just kind of glad it wasn't tonight.''
Washington led by 28 early in the third quarter, which didn't make Cleveland coach Mike Brown happy. After the Cavaliers were pasted by New Jersey 100-79 on Tuesday, Brown ripped his team. He didn't back off his comments before Wednesday's game and afterward was none too pleased.
``We didn't compete like we are capable of,'' Brown said. ``There were times that we just didn't put bodies on bodies.''
Missing James, Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, and Anderson Varejao, who sat out this season in a contract dispute that was resolved Wednesday, the Cavaliers bear little resemblance to last season's Eastern Conference champions.
``We can win games, but obviously we're going to have to get some bodies healthy for us to be able to get back to where we were at the end of last year,'' Brown said.
Until then, they'll most likely continue to struggle. And they won't be getting much sympathy from the rest of the league.
``There's a specialness,'' Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. ``We were suffering in the playoffs and we had to repay them.''
Celtics 113, 76ers 103
In Philadelphia, Paul Pierce had 19 points and 12 assists, Kevin Garnett scored 22 points and Boston broke open a surprisingly tight game in the fourth quarter.
Ray Allen added 12 points for Boston (15-2), but it was Eddie House and James Posey who sank the big 3-pointers that let the NBA-best Celtics remain undefeated in the Atlantic Division.
Andre Miller kept the Sixers in it until the fourth with his first double-double of the season, a 26-point, 12-assist effort.
Suns 136, Raptors 123
In Toronto, Leandro Barbosa scored 35 points, Steve Nash had a season-high 18 assists and Phoenix set a season high in points in beating Toronto.
Shawn Marion added 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who have won four straight and 12 of their past 14. Amare Stoudamire had 25 points and six rebounds.
Bulls 91, Bobcats 82
In Charlotte, N.C., Luol Deng scored 30 points and Chicago dominated the fourth quarter to send Charlotte to its seventh straight loss.
Andres Nocioni scored 10 of his 15 in the final quarter and added 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who erased an 11-point deficit. Gerald Wallace had 22 points for the Bobcats.
Knicks 100, Nets 93
In East Rutherford, N.J., Jamal Crawford scored 29 points, Zach Randolph added 25, and New York overcame the absences of Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry.
Fred Jones and David Lee stepped into the lineup and finished in double figures, helping New York beat its cross-river rival for the second time in the past 12 regular-season meetings.
Richard Jefferson scored 31 points for the Nets, who were without Jason Kidd because of a migraine.
Pistons 91, Hornets 76
In New Orleans, Richard Hamilton scored 21 points to help Detroit win its fifth straight.
Chauncey Billups scored 18 for Detroit, while Rasheed Wallace had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Antonio McDyess added 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
Tyson Chandler had 17 points and 22 rebounds for New Orleans, which had won three of its previous four.
Rockets 105, Grizzlies 92
In Houston, Tracy McGrady finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his third career triple-double, and Yao Ming added 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Reserve Bonzi Wells added a season-high 24 for the Rockets, who have won four of six since losing six straight.
Paul Gasol led the Grizzlies with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Spurs 97, Mavericks 95
In San Antonio, Manu Ginobili scored a season-high 37 points to help San Antonio overcome the absence of Tim Duncan.
Tony Parker added 23 points for the Spurs, who lost almost all of an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Josh Howard led the Mavericks with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Lakers 111, Nuggets 107
In Denver, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers hung on despite a season-high 51 points by Allen Iverson.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and eight rebounds and Marcus Camby had 20 rebounds for the Nuggets. Bryant scored 25 points for the Lakers.
Warriors 120, Bucks 90
In Oakland, Calif., Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson scored 20 points apiece to lead Golden State.
Michael Redd scored 24 points for the Bucks, who have lost six of seven.
SuperSonics 95, Clippers 88
In Seattle, rookie Kevin Durant led five Seattle players in double figures with 18 points, and the SuperSonics extended the Clippers' longest losing streak in nearly three years.
Los Angeles lost its seventh straight, most since dropping eight straight in February 2005. Corey Maggette led Los Angeles with 23 points and Chris Kaman added 19 points and 14 rebounds.