for this game

James determined to lead Cavs to first NBA Finals

Jun 2, 2007 - 2:46 PM Detroit at Cleveland 8:30 pm EDT Eastern Conference Finals Game Six Cavs lead series, 3-2

CLEVELAND (Ticker) - LeBron James is on the cusp of greatness.

James was superhuman in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 109-107 double-overtime win on Thursday, and now aims for his first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. He will get there if the Cavaliers can win Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.

James was unconscious in the fourth quarter and both overtime periods, scoring the Cavaliers' final 25 points - as well as 29 of their last 30. He finished with 48 points and also added nine rebounds and seven assists.

After James was criticized for his passive play in Games One and Two, both three point losses, he willed his team to the win and the brink of the first Finals appearance in franchise history.

The Akron, Ohio native capped his brilliant performance with a driving layup with 2.2 seconds left to send a crowd of raucous Pistons fans home angry. In doing so "King" James did something even Michael Jordan never accomplished - he became the first player ever to score 25 straight points in a playoff game.

"LeBron was huge," said Cavs forward Drew Gooden, whose free throw late in regulation was the only one of Cleveland's final 30 points not scored by James.

"I fouled out so I was on the bench watching it, but I felt like I was playing a video game out there with the Cavaliers - just watching him take over like in a video game."

James show his whole repertoire. The 22-year-old split double teams, flashed a killer cross-over dribble and threw down thunderous dunks. He also showed his range, raising up over defenders to drain a huge 3-pointer that tied the game at 107-107 with 1:14 left in the second overtime.

"He was in a zone tonight," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "He made some phenomenal shots. I thought the shot he had in front of our bench to tie it up when we were up three, off to the left and going up, he was in an unbelievable zone."

"I made a lot of good moves and I was able to finish," James said. "It wasn't just like they opened up the lane and let me through there. I made a lot of good moves, my teammates did a good job of spacing the floor and I just wanted to try to finish."

James is going to do his best to help the Cavs avoid deja vu. Cleveland held a 3-2 led in the semifinals last season, but Rasheed Wallace and company closed out the series at home.

However, now Detroit will need to stop James on the road if they are to stay alive.

"It ain't no different. We've been in a hole before," Wallace said. "Believe it or not, the year we won against (New) Jersey, we were down going back to Jersey, same way, 3-2."