Friday , May , 19 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Cavs attempt to send Pistons on vacation

(Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons have their backs against the wall and
will play for their playoff lives tonight, as they visit the Cleveland
Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference
semifinals series.

Cleveland leads this best-of-seven series 3-2. If Detroit wins tonight, Game 7
would be played on Sunday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

On Wednesday, Drew Gooden’s basket with 27.8 seconds left gave Cleveland the
lead and the fourth-seeded Cavaliers held on for a dramatic 86-84 win over the
top-seeded Pistons at The Palace in the pivotal Game 5 of the series.

Superstar LeBron James scored 22 of his game-high 32 points in the second half
in Game 5’s win for the Cavs, who have won the last three games of this best-
of-seven set to take a 3-2 lead. Zydrunas Ilgauskas ended with 14 points, 10
rebounds and had a franchise playoff-record six blocks for Cleveland.

Donyell Marshall, who had a key block in the final seconds of Game 5, added 14
points and 13 boards in the victory.

Tayshaun Prince had 21 points and eight boards in the loss for Detroit, which
has dropped three-straight games for the first time this season. Chauncey
Billups contributed 17 points and Richard Hamilton netted 15 for the Pistons,
who won Games 1 and 2 of the series on their homecourt.

With a win tonight, the Cavaliers, who are 4-1 at home in this year’s
playoffs, would advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time
in franchise history. They fell in six games in 1976 to the Boston Celtics
and were ousted in six by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1992.

Cleveland, which has never comeback from a 2-0 deficit to win a playoff
series, has won two straight games when it has the chance to eliminate its
opponent from the postseason. The Cavaliers are 1-4 all-time in Game 6s in
the playoffs.

The Cavaliers are 2-1 all-time in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The
Cavs defeated Washington in seven games in 1976 and beat Boston in seven in
1992. They were swept, 4-0, by the Bulls in 1993.

Cleveland won its first playoff series since 1993 in the first round, as it
knocked off Gilbert Arenas and the fifth-seeded Washington Wizards in six
tough contests. In 1993, the Cavaliers defeated the New Jersey Nets in five
games, 3-2, in the first round. They would go on to be swept in four games by
Chicago in the conference semifinals.

The Pistons have won eight straight Game 6s in the postseason. The last time
Detroit lost Game 6 in a playoff series was on June 1, 1990 when it was
defeated in Chicago by the Bulls during the conference finals. The Pistons did
win the series in seven and went on to beat Portland in the NBA Finals.

Detroit has never lost a playoff series after winning Games 1 and 2. The
Pistons have won five of their last six games when facing elimination.

In fact, the last two times Detroit was down 3-2 heading into Game 6 in
Eastern Conference playoff series it came back to win the sets. The Pistons
knocked off Orlando, which actually led the set 3-1, in the first round in
2003, beat New Jersey in the semis in 2004 and defeated Miami in the
2005 East finals.

The Pistons, who are in the playoffs for the fifth straight season,
captured the Central Division and home-court advantage throughout the
playoffs because of their franchise-best 64 victories during the regular

Detroit has reached at least the conference semifinals for a fifth straight
year. It was eliminated in five games by Boston in the 2002 semis, lost in
four to New Jersey in the 2003 conference finals, defeated the Lakers in five
to capture the NBA title in 2004 and fell in seven games to San Antonio in
last year’s championship round.

This is the first time that these teams have met in the postseason.