Detroit cruises past Cleveland as LeBron sprains ankle
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – Rasheed Wallace scored 16 points and pulled
down nine rebounds as six Pistons scored in double figures in a 96-73 rout of
the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince each scored 14 points for Detroit, which
tied a franchise-record with 63 wins in a season.
“It shows we’ve been able to sustain something for a pretty long period,”
said Detroit head coach Flip Saunders. “People die to get 50 (wins), and to
get 60 is really something. Every win beyond that shows that you’ve been able
to play at a pretty high level for a long time.”
Maurice Evans scored 13 points for the Pistons, while Tony Delk tallied 12.
Antonio McDyess added 10.
LeBron James led all-scorers with 22 points for the Cavs, who saw their modest
two-game winning streak come to a crashing halt. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was the
only other Cleveland player to score in double-figures with 10 points.
James left the game with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter with a left ankle
sprain. X-rays after the game were negative. James will be evaluated Thursday
in Cleveland and is listed as doubtful for Thursday nights game against the
New York Knicks.
“It’s not too serious,” said James. “I don’t know who I stepped on but I did
sprain my ankle. I’ll see how I feel in the morning and see if I can go
tomorrow. If I’m not 100 percent I won’t go.”
The Pistons used a dominating first half to coast to an easy victory over the
Trailing by three, 19-16, with 2:30 left in the first period, Hamilton drained
a trey to ignite a 11-0 Detroit run to close the period out, giving the
Pistons a 27-19 lead heading into the second.
Then, after Donyell Marshall nailed a bank shot, his only points of the game,
to bring Cleveland with six, 29-23, just 1:43 into the second period, the
defending Eastern Conference champions rolled off a 14-0 run to take a
commanding 20 point lead, 43-23, with 5:48 left before halftime. During the
spurt Anderson Varejao was called for a Type 2 Flagrant Foul on Wallace and
was ejected from the game.
After a James’ layup, the Pistons, sparked by a Wallace three-pointer, closed
the half out on a 13-4 run and led by a resounding 27 points at the break,
56-29. The point total for the Cavs tied a season-low. Cleveland was unable to
seriously threaten in the second half.
The Cavs shot just 35.1 percent from the field, including 12.5 percent from
beyond the arc (2-of-16). Detroit, meanwhile, shot 43.7 percent and converted
7-of-18 shots from three-point territory.
Cleveland’s Alan Henderson dislocated his right long finger on his right
hand with 11:19 left in the final quarter and did not return. X-rays after the
game were negative. As is the case with James, Henderson will be evaluated
Thursday in Cleveland and is listed as questionable for Thursday nights game
against the New York Knicks. He finished with five points and four
rebounds…The Cavs managed to outrebound Detroit 49-46.