Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Detroit Pistons gun down James gang

AP , AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN

The Detroit Pistons eliminated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 79-61 win in Game 7 of their NBA second-round playoff series on Sunday and completed a comeback from 3-2 down.

"Our slogan is, `If it ain't rough, it ain't right,'" Richard Hamilton said. "So it was rough for us, and we got the win. Now we're looking forward to the next series."

James was often sensational throughout the series, but ultimately, the 21-year-old phenom could not help the Cavaliers overcome Detroit's defense, experience, and home-court advantage.

The Pistons held Cleveland to the lowest-point total in a Game 7, and to its worst quarter offensively in franchise playoff history.

In a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference finals, two-time champ Detroit hosts Miami on Tuesday in Game 1. The Heat have been resting since eliminating New Jersey last Tuesday.

Detroit, which never trailed, took command of Game 7 with a 19-6 run which started in the third quarter and ended with it ahead 67-52 midway through the fourth. The Cavaliers were held to a franchise playoff-low 10 points in the third quarter. James finished with 27 points, only six in the second half, and his teammates failed to give him much support, with only reserve Larry Hughes scoring in double figures with 10 points.

The Pistons had their usual balance on offense, with Tayshaun Prince's 20 points followed by Hamilton (15), Rasheed Wallace (13) and Chauncey Billups (12).

The previous 12 times the Pistons had a chance to win a series, dating to the 2003 playoffs with four of their current starters, they lost only once -- last year in Game 7 of the finals at San Antonio, where they fell just short of repeating as champions.

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