Thursday , May , 31 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons host Cavs in pivotal Game 5 of East finals

(Sports Network) – The top-seeded Detroit Pistons and No. 2 Cleveland meet in
the pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight at The Palace of
Auburn Hills.

This best-of-seven series is tied at two games apiece. Game 6 of the set is
scheduled for Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Both teams have won a pair of contests on their homecourt. Superstar LeBron
James scored 25 points and dished out 11 assists, and the Cavaliers got a huge
contribution from rookie Daniel Gibson in a 91-87 win over Detroit on Tuesday
at Quicken Loans Arena. James, who also had seven rebounds, scored 13 points
in the final quarter.

Gibson had a career-best 21 points, hitting all 12 of his foul shots and
logged 35-plus minutes of playing time because of a foot injury to guard Larry
Hughes, who finished with just two points in 16-plus minutes of action. Drew
Gooden added 19 points and eight rebounds for Cleveland, which was victorious
in Game 3, 88-82, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Chauncey Billups finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, but missed his
last six shots from the field for Detroit, which ended 3-of-17 from beyond the
arc. Richard Hamilton contributed 19 points, Tayshaun Prince netted 15 and
Antonio McDyess scored 12 for the Pistons, who won both Games 1 and 2 by the
score of 79-76 at The Palace.

Detroit, which is 6-1 as the host in the postseason, has dropped four of its
last six Game 5s in the playoffs, while the Cavaliers have won three of their
last four Game 5s and are 0-2 all-time in the fifth game of the East finals.

The Pistons are 18-0 when they win the first two games of a playoff series,
while the Cavaliers, who are 4-3 as the visitor in this year’s postseason, are
0-10 when they drop Games 1 and 2 in a series.

This is the second time that these teams have met in the postseason. Last
year, the Pistons knocked out Cleveland in seven games in the East semis. The
Cavaliers led the series 3-2, but lost Game 6, 84-82, at home and were then
eliminated in Game 7, 79-61, at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Pistons have made it to the Eastern Conference finals for the fifth
straight year and 10th time in franchise history. They played Boston
in 1987 and 1988, Chicago in 1989, 1990 and 1991, New Jersey in 2003,
Indiana in 2004 and Miami in 2005 and 2006. Detroit is 5-4 in this round.

Detroit won its fifth Central Division title in the past six seasons during
the 2006-07 campaign. The Pistons, who have reached the postseason for a sixth
straight year, fell in six games against the Heat in last year’s Eastern
Conference finals.

In round one, the Pistons swept Dwight Howard and No. 8 Orlando, 4-0. The
conference semifinals proved to be a tougher, as the fifth-seeded Bulls
pushed Detroit to six games.

Cleveland has made it to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in
franchise history, and is 0-2 in this round. The Cavaliers fell in six games
to Boston in 1976 and the Bulls in 1992.

The Cavaliers earned their first sweep in franchise history in the opening
round of this year’s playoffs, as they knocked out No. 7 Washington, 4-0. In
the East semis, Cleveland needed six games to eliminate Jason Kidd and the
sixth-seeded Nets.