CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers snapped their 26-game losing streak with a 126-119 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers to the delight of a raucous home crowd on Friday.
The Cavs recorded their first win since a December 18 overtime victory over the New York Knicks and avoided becoming the sole holder of the record for the longest losing streak in any of North America's four major sports.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told reporters.
"I'm glad that it's over with. But with about a minute left in the game, I looked up and said, 'If we'd have played this hard the last game, we would have won.'
"It's great that we finally got the monkey off our backs, but I expect our guys to play this hard every single night. If we do that, then we'll be OK."
Daniel Gibson scored nine of his 17 points in the overtime period. His three-pointer with 3:23 remaining gave the Cavaliers the lead for good and he closed out the victory by hitting all six of his free throw attempts.
"I can smile again. It feels pretty good," Gibson added. "Winning is a precious feeling."
However, the Cavaliers needed two big plays in the final seconds to force overtime.
Mo Williams, playing his first game since January 15, sank a jump shot to tie the score with six seconds remaining and J.J. Hickson blocked his fourth shot to deny Baron Davis at the buzzer.
Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 35 points and Hickson added 27 and 14 rebounds. Williams had a double-double in his return with 17 points and 14 assists off the bench.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 32 points and 13 rebounds, while Davis had 26 points and Randy Foye scored 23.
"For a team that's lost 26 games in a row, they came out like they wanted to win," Davis said.
"Not saying we didn't. It was just going to be one of those knock-out, drag-out games. They made big plays at the end, and really, we didn't. The best thing to do is just to congratulate them on a victory."
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)