Cavs win is a sure thing


CLEVELAND (AP) – Here’s the latest playoff guarantee: The Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers will play a Game 6.

And, who knows? Maybe even a 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 2-2 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 favored Eastern Conference champs.

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.

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 and Tayshaun Prince 16 for the Pistons, who suddenly find themselves in a tense series after dominating at home in Games 1 and 2. The series now shifts to The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., for Game 5 on Wednesday.

That was when Wallace figured the Pistons, who lost their second straight low-scoring game, would wrap things up.

Instead, they’ll be coming back to Ohio on Friday, and if they’re not careful, it could be to save their own season.

AP-ES-05-15-06 2206EDT