Sunday , May , 27 , 2007 Oly Sandor

LeBron James & Daniel Gibson Lead Cleveland Cavaliers To Game Three Win, Chancey Billups & Richard Hamilton Struggle For Detroit

The Eastern Conference finals just got a lot more interesting … The Cavaliers defeated the Pistons 88-82, Detroit still leads the series 2-1 … King James silenced his critics, dropping 32, 9, and 9 … Get your recap, reaction, and analysis here …

What Happened: There will be no questions for after game three of the Eastern Conference finals. James’ play, especially in the fourth quarter, provided all the answers.

James had a near triple-double, registering 32 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in the 88-82 win over the on Sunday night at Quickens Arena.

Of course, after game one, James was criticized for passing-up the game tying shot. And following game two, James was criticized for not making the game winning shot.

So Cleveland’s superstar left nothing to chance in game three, scoring an impressive 12 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

But James had help. had 16 points and seven rebounds. chipped in with 13 points, while Drew Gooden scored 12 points.

, the unheralded rookie from Texas, knocked down a pair of clutch three-pointers and ended up with nine points off the bench.

Detroit’s starting forwards paced the Pistons. scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. had 15 points and seven rebounds, while broke out of his offensive slump with 13 points.

However, the Pistons’ backcourt struggled. had 13 points, connecting on just 4-of-14 shooting. only scored seven points, hitting 2-of-8 shots.

The Pistons still lead the best of seven series 2-1. Game four of the Eastern Conference finals is scheduled for Tuesday in Cleveland.

Reaction of Cleveland forward LeBron James
on learning from past playoff losses:
“You learn from mistakes, you learn from losses, but this game doesn’t put something on me where it’s, ‘Hey, I’ve finally done it. This was a big game. We won it and we have to move on." (ESPN)

Reaction of Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince
on the Pistons’ lack of success guarding James: "We gave him too many options. He picked us apart driving to the basket. But that’s how it is if his jump shot is on." (ESPN)

My Quick Take: James was unfairly criticized after the first two games in this series. True, he wasn’t at his best.

But Cleveland had a chance to win both games in Detroit. That’s all the road team in a best of seven series can ask for.

This didn’t stop the media from sticking a a knife in James. Journalists questioned if James possessed the inner-strength to evolve into a great player. Some wondered if he would ever become a winner.

These comments are amusing. James, in just his first four seasons, has advanced to the Conference finals. He’s the real-deal, a special and amazing player. He also plays in the Eastern Conference, which gives him a chance at advancing to the finals every year.

Here’s the main point: there’s no science to winning. It happens at different times for different players.

Remember, Michael Jordan had his post-season struggles before breaking through. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers could never get past the Utah Jazz before winning three consecutive NBA Titles. And Hakeem Olajuwon was almost chased out of Houston before winning back-to-back NBA Titles.

The criticism of James has been unwarranted. He silenced the pundits on Sunday night.

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