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NBA PLAYOFFS

Cavaliers able to get even with Celtics

May 17, 2008|From the Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 32 points -- 19 in the second half -- and the Cleveland Cavaliers forced a decisive and fitting finale to this home-sweet-home Eastern Conference playoff series with a 74-69 victory Friday night over the Boston Celtics, who have gone from regular-season road kings to postseason road strugglers.

James, whose jump shot has mysteriously been missing in this series, made two key baskets midway through the fourth quarter to slow a Boston comeback, Wally Szczerbiak made a three-point basket with 2:10 remaining and Joe Smith made two free throws with 14 seconds left as Cleveland moved the series back to Boston.

The Cavaliers are attempting to become the 14th team to overcome an 0-2 deficit and win a series, and to do so, the defending Eastern Conference champions will have to win in Boston, where the Celtics are 7-0 in the postseason and play like a team with title potential.

On the road, however, they're just ordinary.

The Celtics are 15-3 in Game 7s at home, but the Cavaliers may have some confidence playing on the parquet after nearly winning Games 1 and 5.

Kevin Garnett scored 25 points, Paul Pierce 16 and Ray Allen only nine on three-for-eight shooting.

Garnett's jumper pulled the Celtics to within 65-60 before James scored on a drive, and then the All-Star made an off-balance 17-foot jumper to make it 69-60.

Eddie House made a three-pointer for Boston, but Szczerbiak, who missed his first five three-point shots, finally got one to go down, giving Cleveland a 72-63 lead.

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