James shreds Pistons’ defense in 94-82 playoff win
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Detroit Pistons couldn’t contain LeBron James again. And this time, they didn’t stop his teammates until it was too late.
James, showing no regard for a defensive plan Detroit spent three days preparing for him, scored 29 points and Mo Williams added 21 as the Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a stirring comeback for a 94-82 win on Tuesday night to open a 2-0 lead over the Pistons in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Delonte West scored 20 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 12 for the top-seeded Cavs, who built a 29-point lead in the fourth but lost their edge and let the Pistons get within seven in the closing minutes before finally putting Detroit away.
James added 13 rebounds, six assists and an unforgettable, wind-mill dunk before pulling on his warmups and sitting the first 4:45 of the fourth quarter.
But as Cleveland’s star was resting up for Game 3 on Friday night at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., the Pistons, showing more fight than they had in two games, closed within 14 and forced Cavs coach Mike Brown to put James and Cleveland’s other starters back in.
Detroit eventually closed within seven on Antonio McDyess’ jumper with 3:51 left, but James restored order down the stretch.
Richard Hamilton scored 17 and Rodney Stuckey 14 for the Pistons.
Lakers 119, Jazz 109
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 and Lamar Odom had 19 off the bench in a victory over the Jazz, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 first-round Western Conference playoff series.
The Lakers’ Phil Jackson notched his 195th career postseason victory, the most of any coach in NBA history.
Deron Williams scored a career playoff-high 35 points and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who head home for Game 3 on Thursday. They again played without injured center Mehmet Okur.
Utah lost its 11th in a row at Staples Center, including playoff games.
Trail Blazers 107, Rockets 103
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Brandon Roy scored 42 points and the Trail Blazers beat the Rockets to even their playoff series at one game apiece.
Aaron Brooks led a late charge and finished with 23 points for Houston, which has not made it out of the first round since 1997. Von Wafer came off the bench to add 21.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds for Trail Blazers, who had never dropped the first two games of a playoff series at home and played one of their most physical games of the season.
Greg Oden’s dunk pulled the Blazers into an 89-all tie with 4:45 left, before Steve Blake’s finger roll put them ahead.
Portland extended the lead to 96-90 after Travis Outlaw hit a jumper and Roy made a falling-down 3-pointer.
The Rockets closed to 104-100 on Brooks’ 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left. After Roy hit a free throw, Brooks made another 3 to make it 105-103 with 1.5 seconds to go.
Rudy Fernandez sealed the win hitting two free throws for Portland.