Wednesday , May , 17 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Gooden, Cavaliers down Pistons in Game 5 thriller

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Drew Gooden’s basket with 27.8 seconds
left gave Cleveland the lead and the Cavaliers held on for a dramatic 86-84
win over the Detroit Pistons in pivotal Game 5 of their Eastern Conference
semifinal series at The Palace.

LeBron James scored 22 of his game-high 32 points in the second half for the
Cavs, who have won the last three games of this best-of-seven set to take a
3-2 lead. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 14 points, 10 rebounds and had a franchise
playoff-record six blocks for Cleveland, which can close out the two-time
defending conference champion in Game 6 at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday.

Donyell Marshall, who had a key block in the final seconds, added 14 points
and 13 boards, as the Cavs are on the verge of advancing to the conference
finals for the first time since losing to the Bulls in six games in 1992.

Tayshaun Prince had 21 points and eight boards for Detroit, which picked a bad
time to suffer its first three-game losing streak of the season. Chauncey
Billups added 17 points and Richard Hamilton had 15 for the Pistons, who
trailed for most of the contest but kept it close the entire time.

With the Cavs ahead 74-66 after Marshall hit a free throw, the Pistons came to
life and put together an 11-3 run that drew the two clubs even. Antonio
McDyess had six points during the run, which he capped with a bucket at the
5:09 mark to tie the game at 77-77.

Just over 1 1/2 minutes later, Jones drained a three-pointer for an 82-79 edge
and was fouled by Billups, giving the Cavs a shot at a four-point lead.
However, he missed the free throw and Billups converted a transition layup to
cut the deficit to 82-81 with 3:18 left.

Cleveland increased the lead to 84-81 on a free throw each by Anderson Varejao
and James, but the Pistons again stormed back courtesy of McDyess. His free
throw with 1:56 left cut the deficit to two points. He then converted a
running layup with 1:20 on the clock to tie the contest at 84-84.

The game remained that way until Gooden received a James pass in the paint and
converted a layup with 27.8 seconds left.

Prince had a chance for the tie, but his shot with 11 seconds left was blocked
by Marshall. Lindsey Hunter then misfired on a long jumper with eight
seconds remaining. With 1.9 seconds on the clock, the Pistons got an inbounds
pass to Hamilton, but he couldn’t get a shot off.