James pours in 41 to lead Cavs past Detroit in OT
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – LeBron James poured in a season-high 41
points, pulled down seven rebounds, dished out eight assists and had three
steals to lead Cleveland over Detroit, 101-97, in overtime at the Palace of
Drew Gooden posted 22 points with 10 boards for the Cavaliers, who have won
three straight and four of their last five. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 14 points
and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Larry Hughes contributed 12 points, eight
boards and six helpers in the win.
Richard Hamilton scored 29 points and Chris Webber netted 20 with 11 boards
for the Pistons, who have dropped three of four. Chauncey Billups chipped in
16 points and 14 assists in defeat.
With the game tied at 70 entering the fourth, Detroit scored 11 of the first
13 points in the quarter for an early 81-72 cushion. The Cavaliers, though,
responded with a 13-3 burst — capped by James’ layup — for an 85-84 edge
with 2:32 to play.
It remained back-and-forth the rest of the way, and with 5.6 seconds left,
James drove to the net and dunked to knot the contest, 93-93.
He then appeared to have drilled the game-winning trey from the top of the key
with 0.7 seconds left, but officials reviewed the shot and replays showed
James didn’t get the ball off in time, thus sending the game into overtime.
After Hamilton’s jumper made it 95-93 in the extra session, Cleveland ripped
off six straight points — ended with a Gooden dunk — for a 99-95 lead.
Hamilton then hit twice from the charity stripe with 1:34 remaining, but free
throws from James and Anderson Varejao accounted for the final margin.
Cleveland finished 46 percent shooting from the field and Detroit shot 43.5
Cleveland opened the contest with an 11-4 spurt and later extended its lead to
34-24 entering the second. The Pistons finally took their first lead at 50-49
when Tayshaun Prince drained a pair of free throws before James converted a
three-point play as the Cavaliers held a slim 52-50 advantage at the break.
Cleveland continued to stay on top in the third, but Billups’ jumper with 36
seconds remaining tied the game at 70 heading into the final frame.
Prior to the game, Detroit guard Lindsey Hunter was issued a 10-game
suspension without pay by the league for testing positive for phentermine, a
substance banned by the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program. He won’t be eligible to
return until the Pistons’ March 25 game at Milwaukee…Prince finished with 12
points…Cleveland snapped a five-game losing streak against Detroit…The
teams conclude their season series April 8 in Detroit.