for this game

James injured as Pistons crush Cavaliers

Nov 29, 2007 - 4:34 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- LeBron James' return to the site of his greatest playoff performance was cut short.

Richard Hamilton scored 18 points as the Detroit Pistons got a small measure of revenge against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 109-74, on Wednesday.

Tayshaun Prince scored 16 points and Antonio McDyess had 14 and eight rebounds for Detroit, which blew open a five-point halftime lead after Cleveland's superstar did not return in the second half with an injury to his left index finger.

James sprained his digit when he was fouled by Pistons center Nazr Mohammed with 4:41 remaining in the first half. The three-time All-Star made both free throws and stayed on the court for the rest of the half.

However, after X-rays at halftime proved negative, James did not return for the second half.

A team spokesman said that James would be evaluated on Thursday. He finished with 15 points and three assists in 18 first-half minutes.

James left without speaking to reporters.

"LeBron's a pretty important part of our team," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "It was a five-point ballgame that Detroit ended up running away with in the second half. He impacts the game on both ends of the court."

The extent of James' injury caught his teammates by surprise.

"I didn't know anything of it until we set foot on the court and I didn't see him," Cavaliers forward Drew Gooden said. "It was a surprise and a shock to us, but we still have to find a way to fight through adversity. But it's tough enough being down and having to try to come back, especially without the guy who leads you."

McDyess said that the Cavaliers aren't the same team without James.

"It's a totally different team when he's not playing," McDyess said. "They definitely miss him when he's not there. I don't know if they lose confidence or not, but he's a big key for that team."

Cleveland is already missing starting guard Larry Hughes, who is out for a month with a deep bone bruise in his leg, and forward Donyell Marshall, who has a sprained right wrist.

"All teams go through the injury plague," Gooden said. "Right now, we have a lot of guys down, but we have to find a way."

James and company were looking forward to returning to the site of one of the biggest wins in franchise history.

After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals to the Pistons, the Cavaliers came back to win the last four games to earn a berth in the NBA Finals against San Antonio.

James had one of the greatest playoff games in NBA history in the pivotal Game Five, scoring a career playoff-high 48 points - including the last 25 by Cleveland in a 109-107 double-overtime victory.

The Cavaliers then went on to win Game Six at home to reach their first-ever Finals.

In this game, Hamilton snapped out of a season-long shooting slump as he went 8-for-14 from the field for Detroit, which shot 58 percent (45-of-77) from the field.

"This was the best I've felt all season," Hamilton said. "Then in the fourth quarter, I wound up hyper-extending my elbow. We don't play again until Saturday, so I've got a few days to rehab."

Hamilton said the Pistons used more motion in their offense than they've used lately.

"When I'm in motion, I'm able to wear my guy down, and I'm more effective," Hamilton said. "With a little guy like (Daniel) Gibson on me, I knew I could get my shot."

The Pistons took advantage of James' absence in the third quarter as they outscored Cleveland, 29-16, to take a 77-59 lead into the final period.

"They made a run at us at the end of the second quarter," Hamilton said. "But when we saw that LeBron didn't come out for the second half, we said, 'As long as we execute and don't play like we're going to win this game easily because he's not here, we'll be all right.' We just had to continue doing what we did in the first half."

Detroit didn't ease up in the fourth, increasing its lead to 24 points before coach Flip Saunders cleared his bench.

Sasha Pavlovic scored 13 points for Cleveland, which shot 40 percent (28-of-70) and scored just 31 points in the second half.

  • CLEVELAND (74)
    fg ft rb
    min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp
    D Gibson 21:45 2-3 0-0 0-1 2 4 5
    S Pavlovic 30:29 6-10 0-0 0-2 2 1 13
    D Gooden 31:52 4-10 1-2 2-9 0 2 9
    L James 19:31 5-11 5-9 0-1 3 1 15
    Z Ilgauskas 23:18 2-8 4-4 1-3 0 1 8
    Da Jones 20:58 2-2 0-0 2-5 0

    Nov 28 10:15 PM

  • NBA

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    Nov 28 8:09 PM
  • 5
    senorpepr Added 5 roots

    Cavaliers vs. PistonsNov 28 10:34 AM