James, Cavaliers edge Pistons in Game 4
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James overcame a poor shooting
performance to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a hard-fought 74-72 win over
the Detroit Pistons in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal set at
Quicken Loans Arena.
James was just 8-for-23 from the floor and 5-of-10 from the line but nearly
compiled his second straight triple-double with 22 points, eight rebounds and
nine assists for the Cavaliers, who evened the series at two with Game 5
scheduled for Wednesday in Detroit.
Cleveland entered the final frame down by six points but scored 12 of the
first 13 points in the quarter to take the lead. James’ first field goal of
half, a step-back jumper from the right baseline over Tayshaun Prince, put the
Cavs on top. Eric Snow then capped the run with a finger-roll-like lay-in and
a pair of free throws to make it a 65-60 game with 5:38 to go.
The Pistons slowly closed the gap as the game headed toward the stretch.
Chauncey Billups drove down the lane and kicked the ball out to Prince at
the top of the circle. The lanky forward drained a long three and the Pistons
were back to within one, 70-69, with 3:22 on the clock.
After Flip Murray missed a three from the right corner, Maurice Evans chased
down a loose ball rebound and was on his way to a breakaway layup. Snow fouled
the Detroit guard very hard from behind and received a flagrant-1 foul. Evans
got two free throws and the Pistons got the ball on the side but Detroit came
out of the sequence with just one point to deadlock things at 70 with 2:53
Over the next 1 1/2 minutes, James’ driving layup was answered by a pair of
Richard Hamilton free throws.
The Cavaliers continued to put the ball in their superstar’s hands, despite
his struggling shot. With 1:02 left, James drove hard down the left side of
the lane and drew contact from Hamilton. He made just 1-of-2 from the line to
give Cleveland a precarious 73-72 advantage.
Billups drove by a slipping Snow and looked like he was on his way for an easy
lay-in but Anderson Varejao slid over and took the charge to put the ball back
in the Cavs’ hands with only 29.6 ticks left.
The Pistons didn’t foul and played matchup defense. James attempted a jumper
from just inside the three-point line but it came off the rim and into the
hands of Prince with 8.6 seconds left.
Detroit got the ball to Hamilton, who drove down the left side of the lane and
drew quite a bit of contact, but the whistles were silent and Cleveland got
the ball back with 2.3 seconds left.
James then hit 1-of-2 from the line to seal things for Cleveland.