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James drops 36 on Pistons to help complete Cavs' sweep

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The Sports Network
4/26/2009 8:26:21 PM
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Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - LeBron James' near triple-double helped the Cavaliers show Detroit, the premier Eastern Conference franchise over the past decade, a quick exit from the postseason, as Cleveland completed a sweep of the Pistons with a 99-78 triumph in Game 4 of their quarterfinal series.

James led the top-seeded Cavaliers with 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Cleveland will now have plenty of rest before the conference semifinals, where it will face the winner of the Atlanta-Miami series. The Heat currently lead the matchup, 2-1.

The MVP candidate James also made 16 free throws, as the Cavs sank 23-of-24 from the line overall in the win, their eighth straight over Detroit in the playoffs dating back to the 2007 conference finals.

"We responded really well. Coming into a hostile building and playing the way we played today was very good," James said. "It's important to close out a team, but it's more important that you play well and get better in that game."

Mo Williams, coming off a 1-for-11 effort from the field in Game 3, chipped in 24 points, while Delonte West added 12 and five assists.

"Everybody stepped up and contributed in one way or another," Cavs head coach Mike Brown said.

The Pistons, meanwhile, had their streak of six straight trips to the East finals snapped in embarrassing fashion. Playoff heroes of past, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace, combined to go 3-for-24 from the field and totaled eight points, with none from Wallace.

Antonio McDyess and Will Bynum paced eighth-seeded Detroit with 26 and 22 points, respectively.

The Pistons held a 27-26 lead after 12 minutes but made just six field goals in the second stanza.

Williams' floater ignited eight straight Cleveland points early in the frame. A pair of Joe Smith free throws closed the flurry for a 38-31 lead about 4 1/2 minutes in, and the Cavs cruised to a 51-42 halftime lead.

The hosts scored the first six points of the third, as Rodney Stuckey's bucket cut the Pistons' deficit to three. But after trading baskets the Cavs answered with nine consecutive points, highlighted by West's three-point play for a 62-50 cushion with five minutes to go.

The margin was 73-60 heading to the fourth, where the Pistons showed little intensity in trying to mount a comeback. A 7-0 Cleveland spurt early on made it an 18-point game.

James' uncontested dunk at the five-minute mark provided an 86-69 lead and the crowd, now primarily consisting of Cleveland fans, showered the 24-year- old with chants of adulation with outcome no longer in question.

"It was written in stone even before we stepped on that court it seemed like," McDyess said. "There wasn't anything we could do...It was just embarrassing for me just to hear the fans and all the people rooting against us in our own arena."

Game Notes

The Pistons had won seven straight first-round series. They had not been swept since 2003, when the New Jersey Nets accomplished the feat in the conference finals...Stuckey had 14 points for the Pistons, who shot 39.7 percent from the floor...The Cavs won the rebounding battle, 41-30.

LeBron James (Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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