By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Every once in a while, an otherwise meaningless NBA game turns into something bigger and better, and Monday’s night’s affair in Washington between the Cavaliers and Wizards was exactly that.
The division leaders faced off while headed in different directions, with the Wizards riding a seven-game win streak overall and one of 17 straight at home. The Cavs had won their last two but were still recovering from a losing month of January and dealing with a report that LeBron James wanted to trade Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony.
And all involved played as if something was at stake, exchanging runs and big shot after big shot, with Cleveland eventually prevailing 140-135 in overtime.
James missed a layup that might have sealed it in regulation, only to redeem himself with a game-tying, falling-out-of-bounds 3-pointer he banked in with 0.3 seconds left, after catching a 60-foot inbounds pass from Love. James finished with 32 points and a career-high 17 assists before fouling out in OT, while Love had 39 points and 12 rebounds and Kyrie Irving took over late to score 11 of his 23 in overtime that included the deciding 3-pointer.
Resurgent Wizards guard Bradley Beal led all scorers with 41 points, including six 3-pointers. Backcourt partner John Wall had 22 points and 12 assists.
It was one “wow” moment after another, with a floor full of stars taking turns being great.
Perhaps it was the Kevin Harlan effect, with the broadcaster who just finished calling that spectacular Super Bowl already back on the mic for TNT not even 24 hours later.