NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at Detroit
(Sunday, April 17th)
Final Score: Detroit 90, Cleveland 87
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Richard Hamilton scored 19 points and Chauncey Billups added 17, as the Detroit Pistons defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 90-87, at The Palace.
Hamilton, who also handed out six assists, left the game for several minutes after suffering a cut above his left eye late in the third quarter. He took a forearm across the head from Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas during a drive to the basket and needed stitches to close the wound.
Meanwhile, Detroit starting forward Rasheed Wallace was forced to leave the game after straining his left hamstring in the first quarter. Wallace apparently suffered the injury when he drove to the basket for a layup. He played just five minutes and scored two points.
Tayshaun Prince netted 15 points and Ben Wallace contributed 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who extended their season-high winning streak to 10 games. Antonio McDyess finished with 11 points and 12 boards in the win.
"We let them be the aggressor in the first half," Billups stated. "They played like us in the first half. We came in at halftime and said that we have to come out and play, bottom line. I knew I had to come out and set the tone, and I tried to do that."
LeBron James paced the Cavaliers with 37 points to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists. However, he was just 12-of-35 from the floor, including 4- of-19 in the second half.
"Everybody knows that this was a costly loss," James said. "We played well in the first half. We gave ourselves a good chance to win. That has just been our luck this year."
Ira Newble had a season-high 19 points and Ilgauskas collected 12 points and 17 boards for Cleveland, which has dropped three in a row and six of its last eight contests.
This loss, coupled with New Jersey's win over Philadelphia Sunday, dropped the Cavaliers into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Nets. New Jersey has two games remaining against Washington and at Boston, while Cleveland hosts Boston and visits Toronto. The Nets also hold the tiebreaker over Cleveland should it come to that.
Ronald Dupree's tip-in with 7:47 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Pistons a 75-69 lead.
Cleveland was able to cut the deficit to 77-75 and then had a chance to tie the game. However, Anderson Varejao missed a pair of foul shots.
Detroit then countered with a 9-4 run, culminated by Prince's three-point play, to extend the margin to seven at 86-79 with 2:13 left.
The Cavaliers again battled back and pulled within 88-87 following consecutive three-pointers from James and Newble, the latter coming with 54 seconds remaining.
After McDyess and Billups each sank a free throw to make it 90-87, Cleveland took control of the ball with 15.5 seconds left. The Cavaliers elected to go for the tie instead of trying for a quick two and James misfired on a three- point shot under heavy pressure from Prince.
"The last possession with nine seconds and change, I just thought they were going to isolate him (James) and pitch," Pistons head coach Larry Brown said. "We've seen him throw back to Ilgauskas and we've seen him pitch to guys on the wing because he is so unselfish. What we talked about was stay in front of your man and don't leave your feet."
Hamilton's layup with nine minutes left in the first quarter gave Detroit an 8-2 lead. Cleveland then went on a 17-4 burst to move in front 19-12. Newble and James each hit three-point shots during the surge.
The Pistons came right back and scored the next eight points, including six by Hamilton, to regain a one-point advantage. The opening quarter ended with the teams tied at 23-23.
In the second quarter, Cleveland was clinging to a one-point lead, before scoring the next six points to make it 37-30 with 5:26 remaining in the period.
After Detroit pulled within 39-36, Newble drained a three-pointer to ignite a 13-2 spurt that staked the Cavaliers to a 14-point advantage. Cleveland eventually carried a 52-40 lead into the locker room. James ended the first half with 25 points, while Newble chipped in 16.
The Pistons then opened the third quarter with a 17-4 spurt, capped by Hamilton's three-pointer, to grab a 57-56 advantage.
Detroit later extended its lead to 65-60 on a three-pointer by Billups, but the Cavaliers received a tip-in from Ilgauskas and a three-point play from James to even the contest after 36 minutes. Billups had 16 points in the third period.
Cleveland has lost 16 of its last 18 games away from home...The teams split the four-game season series, with the home team winning each contest. However, the Pistons have captured 11 of the last 15 meetings between the two clubs.
04/17 20:52:26 ET