for this game

James, Cavaliers even series with Pistons

May 30, 2007 - 5:22 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have made it a series.

LeBron James scored 25 points, including 13 in the decisive fourth quarter, to lift the Cavaliers to a 91-87 victory over the Detroit Pistons in Game Four of the Eastern Conference finals.

Cleveland rookie Daniel Gibson scored a career-high 21 points and Drew Gooden added 19 in the win, which knotted the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. The series shifts back to Detroit for Game Five on Thursday.

"I live for the fourth quarter," James said. "I love the fourth quarter, especially when the game is tight. And I told my teammates, just get me to the fourth and it's close, and I'll try my best to win the game and I was able to do that."

James was 4-for-6 shooting in the fourth, provided a key jump shot to give Cleveland a 87-79 lead with 3:21 to play and sank a pair of free throws to ice the win with four seconds to play.

Gooden also had a big fourth with seven points and a steal with just over a minute to play that helped preserve the lead.

Trailing, 77-74, in the fourth, the Cavaliers went on a 9-0 run which was capped by Sasha Pavlovic's layup to make it 83-77 with 5:23 to play.

"I remember hearing David Wesley telling (James) a lot of time when you hear your teammates tell you this, it kicks in sometimes better - but I remember David saying to LeBron at the end of the third quarter, 'Somebody needs to get in the paint,'" Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "And I thought I heard LeBron say, 'Okay,' and from that point on he was aggressively driving the basketball, and when he did that, they collapsed and he made the right pass."

A quarter earlier, it looked as if the Cavaliers may be on their way to a third loss in the series.

Cleveland's third quarter woes in the series continued as the Pistons opened the second half on an 8-0 run to take a 51-50 lead. The Cavaliers, who had been outscored 63-43 in the third over the first three games of the series, were held scoreless in the quarter until Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit a free throw at the 7-minute mark to tie the game at 51-51.

"I don't think it's the norm for us. The only thing we can do is keep going through the experience of it and hope that we don't get hammered bad enough to lose a ballgame in that third quarter," Brown said.

After Gibson scored six consecutive points to give Cleveland the lead, the Pistons went on their second 8-0 run of the quarter to regain the lead.

Led by Richard Hamilton's nine points, Detroit outscored Cleveland 24-15 in the third and carried a 67-65 advantage into the fourth.

"We have top clean up that third quarter," James said. "Good in the fourth, but that third quarter is going to catch up to us sooner of later."

James was 0-for-6 shooting in the session and has just five third-quarter points total during the first four games of the series. Gibson and Donyell Marshall combined for 14 of the teams 15 points in the third.

While James was the star, Gibson wasn't far behind.

With James taking a breather on the bench in the second quarter, the 21-year-old turned in an impressive individual run, scoring nine consecutive points to lead the Cavaliers to their biggest lead of the game.

"Daniel is much better than just shooting an outside shot, which I told you guys after Game Three," James said. "I just know talent. I told you guys about Sasha and I told you guys about Daniel. I should be a GM someday, I guess."

The rookie hit a tough fade-away jumper to give the Cavaliers a 34-30 lead and in his next trip down the floor hit another fade-away from the top of the key while drawing a foul by Hamilton. He converted the three-point play to give Cleveland a 37-30 lead. The 21-year-old got to the the free-throw line twice more in the following minutes and went 4-for-4 to give the Cavaliers a 41-33 lead.

"When you have a guy like (LeBron James), you play with so much comfort and you're so much more relaxed on the floor because you know what he's capable of doing at any given time," Gibson said.

Back-to-back baskets in the paint from Ilgauskas gave Cleveland its biggest lead of the game at 45-33.

Detroit trailed 50-38 with just over a minute to play in the half, but trimmed the lead to seven going into halftime on a bucket by Rasheed Wallace and 3-pointer from Lindsey Hunter.

Wallace picked up his fifth technical foul of the postseason when he threw his headband in the fourth quarter. If a player receives seven technical fouls in the playoffs, he is automatically suspended for the next game.

"He was upset with Rip. His headband toss was more out of frustration at his teammate. That's why I thought it was a terrible call as far as at that time of the game," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said.

Gibson, who scored 11 points in the first half, has seen significant playing in the last two games after Larry Hughes went down with a sprained left foot in the first quarter of the Cavaliers' 88-82 win in Game Three.

After receiving an injection of cortizone, Hughes started Game Four but the hobbled guard was limited to just 16 minutes in the game.

As is often the case, four of James' points came via highlight-reel dunks. The 22-year-old superstar came through the paint untouched for a one-handed jam in the first quarter and followed that up in the second quarter with a high-flying dunk off an alley-oop pass from Gibson.

James also contributed a game-high 11 assists.

Chauncey Billups lead the Pistons with 22 points while Hamilton finished with 15. That duo was held to just 20 points combined in Game Three's loss.

Billups said the Pistons, who beat Cleveland in the conference semifinals a year ago after failing behind three-games-to-two, aren't going to let this game affect them going forward.

"That's the good thing about our group. No matter if we lose, we still feel like we can get it done," Billups said.