CLEVELAND — LeBron James didn’t wait for the last play. He did all he needed to do before the clock got anywhere near zero.
James had 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in the most important game of his young NBA career, helping Cleveland to an 88-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night to pull the Cavaliers to 2-1 in the Eastern Conference finals.
James, rising to the occasion with a hometown crowd hanging on his every move, scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and rookie Daniel Gibson came up with several key plays down the stretch to help his more celebrated teammate.
In Game 1 at Detroit, James was criticized for not taking the Cavs’ final shot. In Game 2, James was swarmed by defenders and couldn’t get off a clean attempt in the foul lane in the waning moments of the Pistons’ second straight 79-76 win.