R. Wallace's Prediction Fizzles as Cavs Pull Even
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
CLEVELAND, May 15 -- Here's the latest playoff guarantee: The Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers will play a Game 6.
And, who knows? Maybe even a Game 7.
Rasheed Wallace's defiant prediction of a Detroit victory backfired when LeBron James scored 22 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Pistons, 74-72, to even their second-round series at two games apiece on Monday night.
Following Detroit's loss in Game 3, Wallace had pledged the Pistons would not only win Game 4, but that the Cavaliers would be playing in front of their fans for the last time this season. Well, Cleveland has at least one more at home after winning their second straight over the defending Eastern Conference champs.
"We're not feeling the pressure," James said. "The Pistons are feeling the pressure."
With Wallace watching from the bench with a sprained ankle, James made two free throws -- the last with 1.3 seconds left -- and the Pistons threw away their final inbounds pass to James, who grabbed the ball and punted into the second deck of Quicken Loans Arena, which was electric from start to finish.
Wallace's boast had a lot to with that, as Detroit's mouthy forward was booed every time he touched the ball. Afterward, Wallace remained confident the Pistons would get the job done.
"I ain't worried about these cats," he said. "There's no way in hell they beat us in a series. They played well. I give them credit. We lost. We shot 30 percent and they had to play their best to beat us."
James added nine assists and eight rebounds, narrowly missing his third triple-double of the postseason. Eric Snow had 12 points -- 10 after halftime -- and Anderson Varejao had 10 points and drew a key foul late in the game.
Richard Hamilton scored 30 points for the Pistons.