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>>caption: LeBRON (R) DRIVES
AGAINST DETROIT'S PRINCE<<
@ CLEVELAND, OH:
The Cavaliers steadily pulled
away from the Pistons in a fairly
easy 102-84 game one playoff
decision Saturday afternoon.
Rasheed Wallace sank a pair of consecutive baskets to get Detroit
within 37-36 in the 2nd-Qtr, LeBron James then fed Joe Smith for a dunk to
begin a 20-9 Cleveland closing burst to finish the 2nd-Qtr, a run that ended
when James sank a halfcourt buzzer beater that gave Cleveland a 57-45
The Pistons went cold just as LeBron got hot, missing 12 of their final 15
shots from the field in the 2nd-Qtr.
The closest Detroit came after halftime was within 8-P at 80-72 on a Will
Bynum basket with 8:50 to play in the contest while LeBron was getting a
rest on the bench. James re-entered at that point to help spark a clinching
James had game-highs of 38-P & 7-A including 22 in the 1st-H. Smith had 13-P.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 12-P with a game-high of 10-RB. Delonte West & Mo
Williams also each scored 12-P for the Clevelanders.
Rodney Stuckey scored 10 of Detroit's 25-P in the 1st-Qtr when the game was
still close and finished with a team-high 20-P. Rip Hamilton added 15-P, Wallace 13-P
with 9-RB and Antonio McDyess 10-P.
The Cavs won all four quarters of the contest.
Cleveland has won five straight playoff games from Detroit and the Pistons have
scored fewer than 100-P in 12 of their last 14 post-season games vs the Cavs.
PISTONS H-COACH MICHAEL CURRY: "We came out and we tried to establish
ourselves on the defensive end, and I thought some of the things we did were
really good except our recognition of them going to LeBron early. We allowed
him to get to the basket on the first four possessions. Anytime you allow that,
a guy that's going to touch the ball that much and that is that good of a player,
you are going to put yourself in a position that they can have a big night...
To come in and shoot 46 percent, only have seven turnovers and be that close
on the boards, it should have been closer than an 18-point game."
PISTONS GD RODNEY STUCKEY: "We know Cleveland has always been a good home
team, so we just need to jump on them early. It's hard when LeBron gets going early
as well. That’s their leader...Man. It is what it is. He made it (James' halfcourt
shot at the halftime buzzer) and they got a bit of momentum."
PISTONS GD RIP HAMLTON: "We have to know where LeBron is at all times. When you
score 38 against us, we can't have that and have a chance. We have to figure out a
way to stop him...When you shoot 46 percent and you still lose by almost 20, you can’t
hang your hat on that because there have been times this year where we shot the ball
well and still lost. We’ve got to get back and really defend and hopefully get easy baskets.
We only shot 12 free throws tonight, so we’ve got to find ways to get to the free throw
line and get to the paint.”
PISTONS FWD ANTONIO McDYESS: ""It's tough when (James) is going like that. No
matter what you do; trap, he's going to make that play; contest shots, he's making
shots. He's going to the bucket and being fouled. It's just tough..."efensive is the
key for us. Offense was fine, we were sharing the ball and not making turnovers.
But, defensively, we’re just not in sync with each other. It’s like everything is out
of sync. We go to rotate, and there’s no one helping. Guys are getting layups, we’re
just not that sharp on defense as we were years ago.”
CAVS FWD LeBRON JAMES: "The three (3-pointer at the halftime buzzer) definitely helps
momentum, knowing you are going to get the ball back at the beginning of the third. It
brings the house down. The crowd is going to go crazy any time you can make a shot
like that...I go into every game trying to be aggressive, but at the same time you have
to take what the defense gives you. I know it's the playoffs. It's a different level of
basketball. Mentally you have to be more in tune. Just like I said before, whatever the
defense gives me or wherever I see cracks in the defense, I try to attack it.”
CAVS GD MO WILLIAMS: "(James) was great. It’s what we expect, you know it really
doesn’t amaze us anymore. We expect that from him, especially when teams want to
take the challenge and try and guard him one-on-one. We expect that...I think that
defensively we did what we had to do. In the first quarter they shot 56 percent from
the field and every quarter from then on, the percentage was lower. With that being
said, we really buckled down defensively. The game got aggressive and the refs did a
great job of being consistent and calling the game physical the whole game.”
CAVS CEN BEN WALLACE: "We forced them to play our style of basketball. We
forced them to play the way we like to play. We controlled the tempo and we
forced them to play Cavaliers basketball.”
CAVS H-COACH MIKE BROWN: "Detroit came out, especially in that first quarter and
did a nice job trying to take it to us. Our guys did a decent job after that responding.
Offensively LeBron played a solid game on both ends of the floor. Delonte, he has a tough
match guarding Richard Hamilton. It's tough for him to have to chase the whole game,
especially 42 minutes or 42-plus minutes, but I thought our team defense helped out a lot."
James in averaging an even 27-PPG in 14 career playoff games against Detroit.
Tayshaun Prince played his 115th career NBA playoff game, but had just 4-P in 37-mins
and had his ailing back in a wrap afterward.
The NBA Coach's Association has dedicated the playoffs ro Chuck Daly, who is battling
pancreatic cancer. Daly coached both Cleveland and Detroit, winning a pair of NBA
World Championships with the Pistons.
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