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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -The third quarter got the Cleveland Cavaliers again.
For the fourth straight playoff game, the Cavaliers fell apart coming out of halftime, and for the third time, it cost them a victory.
Cleveland led the Detroit Pistons 50-38 at halftime Thursday night, but were outscored 22-13 in the third quarter. The Pistons went on to a 79-76 victory and took a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
In the last two games of their second-round series win over New Jersey, the Cavaliers were outscored by an average of 12 points in the third quarter. The trend continued when Detroit outscored Cleveland 21-14 in the third quarter.
In Game 2, the Cavaliers played a decent defensive quarter, holding the Pistons to just 42.9 percent from the field, but they couldn't get anything going offensively. Cleveland missed 10 of 15 field goal attempts in the period, and turned the ball over five times.
LeBron James played the entire quarter, but didn't score. He missed his only shot and committed three turnovers. Only two 3-pointers by Donyell Marshall and another by fellow reserve Daniel Gibson allowed Cleveland to have a 63-60 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Things didn't get much better in the final period as Cleveland went 5-for-18 from the field, including a 2-for-7 performance by James, and committed six more turnovers.
The Pistons went up 77-76 on Rasheed Wallace's baseline jumper with 24 seconds left - Detroit's only field goal of the final five minutes. Cleveland got three shots on their last possession, but James couldn't penetrate Richard Hamilton's tough defense, Larry Hughes was short on a jumper and Anderson Varejao's desperate tip rolled off the rim with three seconds to play.
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