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Son of a bitch. The Cavs fall just short in their attempt to eliminate the Pistons, losing 84-82 to the back to back Eastern conference champs. The series now goes back to Detroit for a decisive game seven on Sunday afternoon. In his post game recap, Swerb looks back on what the hell happened, and why the Cavs came up just short.
In yet another down to the wire thriller, the Cavaliers fell just short in their attempt to eliminate the Detroit Pistons, falling 84-82 to the back-to-back Eastern Conference champs in game six of the teams second round playoff series.
The Pistons hung on thanks to nine fourth quarter offensive rebounds, including five in the final 1:39, as well as big final frames from Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace. Billups and Wallace scored Detroit’s final thirteen points, and seventeen of their final nineteen. Nearly all of those points came on second and third chances, as the veteran laden Pistons kept narrowly beating the Cavaliers to loose balls and rebounds. The Cavs had held Detroit to just two offensive boards through three quarters.
The game was incredibly tight throughout. The Cavs raced to a 15-8 lead out of the gates, then watched Detroit storm back behind a 12-2 run to seize a 20-17 advantage. No team would lead by more than four points the rest of the way.
Despite coming up short in their struggles for the loose balls late, LeBron James kept the Cavaliers in the game by making seven consecutive free throws in the final four minutes of the game. James was the only Cavalier to score in the final four minutes, and the Cavs were held without a field goal for the final 3:15.
The Pistons led 83-81 with just under a minute left, and Rip Hamilton grabbed two straight offensive rebounds off Rasheed Wallace misses to retain possession for the Pistons and enabling the clock to keep ticking. Eventually, the Cavs fouled Wallace with sixteen seconds left, and he missed both free throws. However, Ben Wallace grabbed the offensive rebound on the second miss, and got it to Chauncey Billups, who the Cavs fouled with 10 seconds remaining. Billups made the first, missed the second, and the LeBron grabbed the rebound and quickly advanced the ball up court. Instead of electing to shoot a game tying three, James drove at the hoop and was fouled with 1.4 seconds left. He made the first, making it 84-82, then intentionally missed the second, which was almost inadvertently knocked in the basket by Billups in the struggle for the rebound.
The win kept the Pistons season alive and tied the series at three games apiece. The deciding game seven will be played back in Detroit this Sunday at 3:30 PM. The game will be nationally televised by ABC.
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