Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Young guns carry Cavs

Cleveland evens series with Detroit at 2-2

May 30, 2007


— The kid came up big. LeBron James did, too.

And the Cleveland Cavaliers are as close as they've ever been to an NBA title.

James scored 25 points - 13 in the fourth quarter - and rookie Daniel Gibson added a season-high 21 as the Cavaliers evened the Eastern Conference finals with a 91-87 victory over the Detroit Pistons in Game 4 Tuesday night.

The 21-year-old Gibson made 12 of 12 free throws, Drew Gooden added 19 points and Eric Snow hit a crucial free throw in the final seconds as the Cavaliers moved within two victories of their first trip to the finals.

They'll have to win at least once in Detroit to get there.

James, criticized for his fourth-quarter failures in Games 1 and 2 at Detroit, had a virtuoso-like performance in the final 12 minutes. He went 4-of-6 from the field, 5-of-5 from the line and added four rebounds and three assists.

"I told my teammates, 'Get me to the fourth and it's close, and I'll try my best to win,"' James said.

He made good on his word.

Game 5 is Thursday night in Auburn Hills, Mich., with Game 6 back at Quicken Loans on Saturday.

The Cavaliers, who lost a seven-game series to Detroit last year, are making just their third visit to the conference finals and each time they've been tied 2-2 before losing in six games.

When he was drafted, James promised to bring the championship-starved city its first title since 1964, and he's closing in on one quicker than anyone expected.

"The series is a lot better being 2-2 than 3-1 and going back to Detroit," James said. "I had to be aggressive in the fourth quarter and step up."

Chauncey Billups scored 23 points, Rip Hamilton 19 and Tayshaun Prince 15 for the Pistons, who needed last-second wins to go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series and are suddenly the team looking for answers.

Their frustration boiled over in the fourth when Rasheed Wallace was whistled for a technical during Cleveland's 9-0 run.

In the final minutes, it was the more-experienced Pistons who couldn't come up with the big play. With Detroit down 88-85, Wallace blocked a shot in the lane, but Billups rushed a three-pointer that missed. On Cleveland's next possession, Snow, who only played 1:05, got fouled following a scramble for a loose ball.

Snow's free throw put the Cavaliers ahead by four before Antonio McDyess' tip-in got the Pistons within 89-87 with 4.7 seconds left.

James was fouled, and Cleveland's star - whose poor free-throw shooting has been one of his only flaws - calmly knocked down both foul shots to make it 91-87.


craigers 11 years ago

I watched just a little of this game and it was really nice to see Gooden being such a contributor to the team. He definitely has muscled up since college. Lookin good, rock chalk Gooden.

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