Cav­a­liers earn a trip to Detroit

They beat the Nets, 88-72, to reach East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals for first time in 15 years.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS -

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — LeBron James came back just in time to make sure the New Jer­sey Nets couldn’t.

James, who had a long stint on the bench be­cause of foul trou­ble, scored 23 points, and the Cleve­land Cav­a­liers ad­vanced to the East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals for the first time in 15 years by beat­ing the Nets, 88-72, on Fri­day.

Cleve­land won the se­ries, 4-2, and heads to Detroit on Mon­day night for its third ap­pear­ance in a con­fer­ence fi­nals and the first since 1992.

James, who had eight re­bounds and eight as­sists, needed only four years to get the Cav­a­liers into the NBA’s fi­nal four.

He got plenty of help from re­serves Donyell Mar­shall and Daniel Gib­son, and Cleve­land needed it be­cause James spent most of the third quar­ter on the bench and the Cav­a­liers scored only eight points.

New Jer­sey cut what had been a 22-point deficit to one, but with James back for the fourth quar­ter, the Nets never led.

Mar­shall scored 18 points and Gib­son had eight. They had com­bined for 26 points to­tal in the first five games of the se­ries.

The Nets were hop­ing to be­come the ninth NBA team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a se­ries.

Ja­son Szenes Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

HOS­TILE TER­RI­TORY: Cleve­land’s LeBron James finds him­self sur­rounded by New Jer­sey Nets as he goes up for a shot. He scored 23 points to help the Cav­a­liers win the semi­fi­nal se­ries, 4-2.

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