The venue switched from the Motor City to the Rockinâ€™ Cleveland, and that seemed like the perfect place for the Cavs to be. LeBron James took his play before hometown fans to the level it must be at for Cleveland to have a chance against the finely tuned Pistons.
James put in 32 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished off 9 assists, leading the Cavaliers in each of those areas. He also led his team in steals with two. In the fourth quarter, with his team down by one, he took over, scoring 12 of his 32 points. Playing 46 minutes, James took advantage of every opportunity hitting 12 of 21 from the field (57%). He was 2 of 3 from down town (66%) and 6 of 9 from the foul line (66.66%).
With just about everything else being equal between these two teams, it was James ability to step up and out that made the difference.
The Pistonsâ€™ Chauncey Billups (PG) was neutralized, hitting only 4 of 14 from the court and 2 of 8 from the three-point mark. Billups averages 17 PPG and cutting that total in half certainly helped the Cavs earn their first victory of this series.
The two teams play again tonight at 8 PM ET. For the Cavaliers to have a chance against Detroit, itâ€™s essential that they tie the series. In game three, James clinched victory by hitting a jumper and also knocking down a slam. He proved that the Cavs couldhold it together down the stretch (something they had trouble doing in the first two games). Tonight he has the opportunity to take over not just a game but an entire series. Thus far, itâ€™s the most important series of his young career.
This may just be the best series of the entire 2007 NBA Playoffs. If it can go seven, it should be brutally great.