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Archive for Sunday, May 14, 2006

LeBron not gone yet

James notches 2nd playoff triple-double

May 14, 2006

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— LeBron James lifted the young boy, kissed his head and pulled the tiny child close. Cradling the 1-year-old in his rippling arms, Cleveland's star carried his son off the court.

It was LeBron Jr.'s turn for a ride.

Daddy already gave one to the Cavaliers.

James scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and posted the second triple-double of his first visit to the NBA playoffs, leading Cleveland to an 86-77 win over Detroit on Saturday that cut the Pistons' lead to 2-1 in their second-round series.

Getting his only rest at halftime, James finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals for the Cavaliers, who played with more confidence than in Games 1 and 2 and ensured they will play at least two more games this season.

"Lo and behold he gets a triple-double in a second-round playoff game against possibly the best team in the league," said Cavs coach Mike Brown, marveling at James' latest feat. "I say it all the time - he's special."

Anderson Varejao, Cleveland's mop-haired forward, added a career-high 16 points and Flip Murray, starting in place of Larry Hughes, had 13 for the Cavaliers, who went 11-of-15 from the floor (73 percent) and 9-of-9 from the line in the fourth.

Cleveland can even up the best-of-seven series at home in Game 4 on Monday.

"We knew we couldn't lose Game 3 at home," James said. "That would have dug us too big of a hole to get out of. We took care of home. But we don't want to feel too good about ourselves about this. We just have to protect home."

Rasheed Wallace warned the Cavaliers not to feel too giddy.

"They did what they were supposed to do," he said. "We are still going to win this series. We're not going to let one game discourage us."

Even if the Cavaliers don't rally to dethrone the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions, James and his teammates have made their first visit to the postseason since 1998 a memorable one.

The 21-year-old James can take a bow for that, saving his best when it mattered most and carrying the Cavs down the stretch.

Mavericks 104, Spurs 103

Dallas - This time, it was the San Antonio Spurs who couldn't make the play at the end. Just like that, their title defense could be in trouble. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 of his 27 points from the foul line, helping the Mavericks take a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. For the first time in the series, both teams were at their best at the same time.

Until the very end, when San Antonio's Robert Horry botched a handoff to Manu Ginobili, caroming the ball out of bounds across midcourt. Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse went to the line with two seconds left, missed the first, then intentionally missed the second, hoping it would clang off the rim and time would run out.

But he missed the rim, giving the ball to San Antonio out of bounds for one last chance.

Brent Barry heaved the ball from in front of the Mavs bench to the lane, but Josh Howard was there to disrupt it, setting off a wild celebration. DeSagana Diop pulled his shirt almost over his head, then hugged a bouncing Devin Harris, who again was a spark plug in his second straight start.

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