Tuesday , May , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Playoff Notebook: Cavs showing a lot of heart

(Sports Network) – The fourth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers are staying right
with the top-seeded Detroit Pistons in their Eastern Conference semifinals
series.

Superstar LeBron James scored 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out
nine assists to lead the Cavaliers to a 74-72 victory over Detroit in Game 4
at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland’s win knotted the best-of-seven set at
two games apiece.

James played the entire game and was just 8-of-23 from the floor, including 1-
for-2 from beyond the arc. He committed eight of Cleveland’s 18 turnovers
during Game 4’s win.

“This wasn’t one of our prettiest offensive nights,” said James after Game 4’s
victory. “I know I didn’t play extremely well offensively, but on the
defensive end we got it done. We gave ourselves a chance to win down the
stretch and we got it done. Simple as that.”

Cleveland held the Pistons to just 33.3 percent (25-for-75) from the field and
forced 14 Detroit turnovers.

The Cavaliers were 29-of-68 (42.6 percent) from the floor, including 5-of-11
(45.5 percent) from beyond the arc. They finished just 11-for-17 from the
charity stripe.

“What a ballgame,” said Cleveland head coach Mike Brown. “I’ve said this
before but that’s a playoff game. In order to win in the playoffs, you’ve got
to get stops and I thought we grinded it out for 48 minutes. So did they. It
was just a tough battle going back and forth, going back and forth.

“It wasn’t a perfect game by any stretch at all by us. We had 12 turnovers in
the first half. We settled down and had seven in the second half but most
importantly our floor balance was okay and we only gave up four points off
those turnovers.”

Veteran point guard Eric Snow, who has played in 81-career playoff games, was
5-for-7 from the floor and finished with 12 points in Game 4’s win, while
Anderson Varejao cam off the bench and contributed 10 points and six rebounds.

Crafty shooting guard Richard Hamilton ended with a game-high 30 points in the
loss for the Pistons, while Tayshaun Prince netted 16 and Defensive Player of
the Year Ben Wallace grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds.

“We had opportunities,” said Hamilton after Game 4’s loss. “The last two games
we lost we lost in our style games: grind it out last five, six minutes. We
usually get done. These last two games we havent gotten it done in the last
five minutes.”

The Pistons won Games 1 and 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, while the
Cavaliers also held homecourt by winning Games 3 and 4 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Bottom line is that Cleveland has to figure out how to win in Detroit if it
wants to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for just the third time in
franchise history.

“There ain’t no pressure,” said Hamilton. “The game of basketball is fun. A
lot of people expected us to win. Cleveland played two good games at home. Now
its our job to go out and take care of home court.”

Game 5 will be played at The Palace, while Game 6 will take place at Quicken
Loans Arena. If there is a Game 7, the series would conclude in Detroit.

“We have to figure out a way to win on the road,” said Brown. “We did a little
bit better job of it this year than last year. We know it’s going to be a
tough environment to play in therefore we can’t have 12 turnovers in one half.
We can’t allow them to have open looks from the three-point line because this
is the best shooting team in the league and we can’t allow them to dominate us
on the offensive glass.

“If we do those three things we are going to give ourselves a chance to win as
long as we bring effort for 48 minutes. We’re going to have to be mentally
tough going into that game, take care of those three areas and give effort for
48 minutes.”

James has been great in his first postseason action. He leads the Cavaliers in
scoring (30.9 ppg), assists (6.4 apg) and is tied with forward Drew Gooden for
tops on the club in rebounding (8.1 rpg) in the playoffs. The 21-year-old
phenom has shined on the NBA’s biggest stage.

Cleveland, which knocked off the fifth-seeded Washington Wizards in six games
in the first round, has battled with the Pistons and has shown that it can
compete with the best in the East. With James on the court, the Cavaliers have
a shot to pull of a stunning upset.

CLE DET