Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - Page 20 News List

NBA: Cavaliers hold off Pistons to seize 2-0 playoffs lead

AP , CLEVELAND, OHIO

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James lands in the crowd while chasing a loose ball in the fourth quarter of the Cavs’ first-round playoff game against the Detroit Pistons in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AP

The Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a stirring comeback from the Detroit Pistons for a 94-82 win and a 2-0 lead in their NBA Eastern Conference playoffs on Tuesday.

LeBron James, showing no regard for a defensive plan Detroit spent three days preparing for him, scored 29 points, Mo Williams added 21, Delonte West scored 20 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 12.

The Cavaliers built a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter but lost their edge and let the Pistons get within seven in the closing minutes before finally putting Detroit away.

James added 13 rebounds, six assists and an unforgettable, wind-mill dunk before pulling on his warmups and sitting out the first 4:45 of the fourth quarter.

But as Cleveland’s star was resting up for Game 3 on Friday at The Palace in Auburn Hills, the Pistons, showing more fight than they had in two games, closed within 14 and forced Cavaliers coach Mike Brown to put James and Cleveland’s other starters back in.

Detroit eventually closed within seven on Antonio Mc­Dyess’ jumper with 3:51 left, but James restored order.

Richard Hamilton scored 17 and Rodney Stuckey 14 for the Pistons.

LAKERS 119, JAZZ 109

At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 and Lamar Odom had 19 off the bench in a victory over the Jazz, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 first-round Western Conference playoff series.

The Lakers’ Phil Jackson notched his 195th career postseason victory, the most of any coach in NBA history.

Deron Williams scored a career playoff-high 35 points and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who head home for Game 3 on Thursday. They again played without injured center Mehmet Okur.

TRAIL BLAZERS 107, ROCKETS 103

At Portland, Oregon, Brandon Roy scored 42 points as the Trail Blazers beat the Rockets to even their playoff series at one game apiece.

Aaron Brooks led a late charge and finished with 23 points for Houston, which has not made it out of the first round since 1997. Von Wafer came off the bench to add 21.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds for Trail Blazers, who had never dropped the first two games of a playoff series at home and played one of their most physical games of the season.

The Rockets’ Dikembe Mutombo injured his left knee in the game and left the court on a stretcher.

The Congolese reserve center appeared to get tangled with Greg Oden and came down hard on the leg late in the first quarter.

Mutombo stayed prone on the court under the Blazers’ basket for several moments before he was taken from the court. A preliminary examination revealed a knee strain.

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