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Williams, Gibson propel Cavaliers over Pistons

Feb 2, 2009 - 12:51 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Even with LeBron James on the bench, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a dangerous team on the road.

Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson combined for 19 fourth-quarter points as the Cavaliers continued the home struggles for the Detroit Pistons with Sunday's 90-80 victory.

James led the way with 33 points and eight assists for Cleveland, which won for the sixth time in its last seven games.

However, James was on the bench at the start of the fourth, when the Cavaliers faced their largest deficit of the game at 66-58. That hole did not last long as Cleveland put together a 15-2 run to start the final quarter.

Gibson and Williams combined for all of the points during the spurt, with Gibson scoring the first seven before Williams took over.

"It was simple. Gib (Gibson) came out in the fourth and hit three straight baskets, Mo (Williams) came back with three straight baskets," James said. "It was uplifting to see those guys take control of the game like that. We needed it. Those guys came through for us."

"Regardless of who was on the court, we got outscored," Detroit coach Michael Curry said. "The first three quarters, defensively, we had done the job, exactly what we wanted to do. Then we got to the fourth, and for whatever reason, we made too many mistakes."

With its fourth win in its last five road games, Cleveland improved to 15-9 away from home - the fourth-best mark in the Eastern Conference.

"Any win is special, especially on the road," James said. "You always try to establish that road presence. We know our rivalry with these guys, so it adds a little fire to the game when we play them."

Meanwhile, Detroit had a disappointing stretch at home continued, as it lost at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the fourth straight time. It is the Pistons' longest losing streak here in eight years.

"We've been right in the games against two of the toughest teams in the East," Detroit guard Allen Iverson said. "Just mistakes here and there got us into trouble. We had control of the games for three quarters and we let it get away from us.

"If we were coming in here and getting blown out it would be a different story. I feel good and I still feel good about our chances."

Detroit appeared on the way to ending that slump, as Iverson converted a driving layup twice in the closing 41 seconds to give his team the eight-point lead going into the fourth.

Gibson, who had failed to score through the first three quarters, opened the fourth with a 3-pointer and followed with a 19-foot jumper. After a turnover by Iverson, Gibson completed a fast-break layup to close the Cavaliers within 66-65 with just 79 seconds expired.

Richard Hamilton hit a running jumper for the Pistons, but Williams then took over, giving the Cavaliers a lead it would not relinquish.

"Gibson was terrific at the start of the fourth quarter," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Not only did he hit shots but he came up with a couple of long rebounds and a couple of steals. He really put his nose in there.

"Mo (Williams) was amazing, too. I just sit back and watch him. We know sooner or later he's going to turn it on."

Williams, who finished with 22 points, hit a jumper 2:07 in and converted a pair of free throws that gave Cleveland a 69-68 lead with 9:22 left. He connected on two more jumpers to extend it to 73-68 with 7:28 to play.

"The game is not over until 48 minutes," Williams said. "Going into the fourth quarter I think we felt that we didn't close out the third like we wanted to, so we started barking in the huddle to be aggressive. I think in the third quarter, we deferred too much to LeBron. Guys were passing up shots. Gib (Gibson) did a great job of coming out aggressive in the fourth quarter."

Although James returned to the game shortly thereafter, Detroit managed to close within 77-76 on Tayshaun Prince's turnaround shot in the lane with 4:09 remaining.

Yet, that would be the closest that the Pistons would get, as James helped put them away.

On Cleveland's next possession, James drove down the left side of the lane before kicking out to Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the corner for a 3-pointer and an 80-76 edge with 3:47 left.

Williams then knocked the ball away from Iverson before James knocked down his third basket from the arc to push the lead to seven points.

James, who finished 12-of-25 from the field, also had a driving layup with 65 seconds left that made it 88-76, capping an 11-0 run.

Iverson had 22 points and Hamilton 16 for Detroit, which shot 35 percent (6-of-17) in the fourth.