Some guarantee: LeBron, Cavs defy Rasheed, even series at 2

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Rasheed Wallace's right ankle was heavily

taped. Maybe his mouth should have been, too.

Wallace's perfect record of predicting Detroit playoff victories

was snapped Monday when LeBron James scored 22 points and the

Cleveland Cavaliers dug deep on defense to beat the Pistons 74-72,

evening their second-round series at 2-2.

Wallace postseason guarantees

'06 Conf. Semis; Pistons lead 2-1



'05 Conf. Finals; Pistons trail 3-2



'05 Conf. Semis; Pistons trail 2-1



'04 Conf. Finals; Pistons trail 1-0



Wallace averages only 11.3 PPG on 28 percent shooting in his guarantee games.

"Everybody was counting us out," James said. "Even people in

our own backyard were counting us out. That's extra motivation for

us. We don't listen to nobody."

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 Monday


He was doubly wrong.

The Cavaliers, employing Piston-style defense and getting big

shots from everyone, are back in a series that began lopsided and

is as tight as it can be. For the second straight game, Cleveland

won a low-scoring defensive struggle -- the kind of game that has

typified Detroit for years.

"We're not feeling the pressure," James said. "The Pistons


With Wallace watching from the bench after rolling his 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 it into the second deck.

Moments later, James jumped up on the scorer's table as Quicken

Loans Arena quaked beneath him. The building was electrified from

start to finish, and Wallace's boast had a lot to do with that;

Detroit's mouthy forward was booed every time he touched the ball.

Afterward, Wallace remained confident the Pistons would

eventually put the Cavs away.

"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.

Taking the fourth

Want to know how the Cavs have gotten back into their East semifinal series with Detroit after going down 0-2? Look no further than fourth-quarter production.

Fourth-quarter scoring:

Game 4: Cleveland, 21-13

Game 3: Cleveland, 33-21

Game 2: Cleveland, 31-19

-- ESPN Research

Richard Hamilton scored 30 points and Tayshaun Prince had 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 would be wrapping

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.

"We don't feel pressure," Prince said. "That's the experience

of our guys. We've been in these situations. Usually we make a run

in the fourth. But tonight we couldn't, and that's when the Cavs


The Cavaliers were again without starting guard Larry Hughes,

whose 20-year-old brother, Justin, will be buried Tuesday. Justin

Hughes was born with a heart defect and had a transplant in 1997.

The Cavs will attend Hughes' funeral on Tuesday in St. Louis

before traveling to Detroit.

"It's what we have to do," Damon Jones said. "It's a must. We

want to be there for Larry and his family. He's our family."

Wallace came in 4-0 in playoff games he has "Guaran-Sheed."

His first came in Game 2 of the 2004 conference finals against

Indiana, and he made another in '05 in Game 4 of a second-round

series with the Pacers.

Last year, he also guaranteed Detroit would win Game 6 in Miami,

and he promised the Pistons would beat Milwaukee in a Game 3

earlier in these playoffs.

This time, Wallace's bombast blew up in his face.

With the score tied 72-all, James was fouled by Hamilton with

1:02 remaining, and as Cleveland's forward lined up for his free

throws, Chauncey Billups came up alongside and said something.

"Hey!" Cavs coach Mike Brown shouted to the officials. "He

can't talk to him like that!"

James had done the same thing to Gilbert Arenas in the closing

seconds of Game 6 in the first round, icing Washington's guard who

missed two free throws that allowed the Cavs to win.

"Chauncey tried to give me what I gave to Gilbert last

series," James said.

James split the foul shots, but Detroit couldn't capitalize as

Prince missed before Ben Wallace was tied up underneath. The

Pistons controlled a jump ball but Billups was whistled for

barreling over Varejao with 29.6 seconds left.

James ran some time off the clock but misfired on a 19-foot

jumper. After a timeout, Hamilton missed on a drive, Ben Wallace

couldn't tip it in and Pistons forward Maurice Evans knocked the

ball out.

Again, James, who was only 5-of-10 from the line, split a pair

with 1.3 seconds remaining. The Pistons had one last chance, but

were unable to complete a pass before time ran out.

Much to the delight of Cavs fans, some of whom were booing

Rasheed Wallace two hours before game time, Detroit's boisterous

forward rolled his right ankle while guarding James on a drive in

the second quarter.

After being helped to his feet, Wallace gingerly walked to the

locker room to get re-taped. He finished with seven points on

3-of-13 shooting.

"I'm all right," Wallace said. "Don't send me to the glue

factory yet. It's nothing that hasn't happened before."Game notes
Detroit's 72 points were the fewest ever by a Cleveland

playoff opponent. ... When the arena's "Kiss Cam" focused on

Detroit's bench, Rasheed Wallace pursed his lips and tried to plant

one on Billups. ... James plans to leave the prognosticating to

Wallace and others, saying he would never guarantee a win. "Those

are very, very bold predictions," James said. "I let my game

speak for itself. I don't do too much talking. But that's part of

Rasheed's game, that's what motivates him." ... The Cavs are 25-19

all-time at home in the playoffs.