Cavs Have Confidence

The throbbing pain in Larry Hughes' left foot matched the ache in the pit of his stomach. The thought of missing another NBA playoff game was tough on Cleveland's point guard.

Hughes, mired in a shooting slump during the postseason, will likely sit out Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit after he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot during the Cavaliers' 88-82 win in Game 3.

Oddsmakers have made Cleveland -1.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 171 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit +1.5  (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Hughes, who didn't play in the fourth quarter Sunday night, described his chances of playing in Tuesday's game as ``pretty slim'' and ``doubtful.''

``It's a tear,'' Hughes said Monday. ``It's not just sore. I haven't been faced with something this painful. I can hardly put any pressure on it.''

The injury is personally difficult for Hughes, who missed four conference semifinal games against the Pistons in last year's playoffs following the death of his younger brother, Justin. He wanted to make this postseason memorable for other reasons.

``I think this is a series that we can win,'' he said, ``so I definitely want to be a part of it.''

The Cavaliers, who trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, listed Hughes as doubtful on their official medical update and diagnosed Hughes' injury as a strain of the left foot plantar fascia.

Hughes, though, said an MRI revealed a partial tear and that it should heal without surgery. He got hurt while planting for a layup, but said his foot has been bothering him for more than a month.

``There wasn't any contact or anything like that,'' he said. ``I just probably turned the wrong way. It was hot, and I've never torn a muscle or anything like that before. So I knew when I did it that it wasn't a normal tweak. It was something pretty serious.''

Hughes' career has been slowed by an assortment of injuries. Last season, his first with the Cavs, he missed 45 games with a finger injury and then missed Games 3, 4, 5 and 6 against the Pistons after Justin died.

Last week, Hughes missed a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds of Game 2, and his shooting touch has been off for weeks. Ironically, he injured his foot on a layup that made him 2-for-2 and gave the Cavs an early five-point lead in Game 3.

``I'm starting to think that May isn't my month,'' he said with a chuckle. ``It's tough. I have to fight through it. I can't blame anybody, blame anything. I have to see the challenge and take it on.

``That's the only way I know how to do it.''

If Hughes can't play, Cavs coach Mike Brown may slide Eric Snow back into his starting lineup. Snow didn't play in Game 3 and has been in for only 17 minutes in the series, scoring one point.

It's also possible Brown will start rookie Daniel Gibson. The second-round pick from Texas made several crucial plays at both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter of Sunday's victory and was the only Cleveland player other than LeBron James to stay in for the final 12 minutes.

James, who had 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Game 3, trusts Gibson and is confident he can fill in adequately for Hughes.

``Hopefully Larry is healthy enough to play, but if he's not, one thing is that we've played without him,'' James said. ``We don't like to, but we have done it, so it's something that's not new to us.''

Despite giving up several inches to Tayshaun Prince and more than a few pounds to Chauncey Billups, Gibson held his own while being assigned to cover two of Detroit's top three scorers.

The Pistons did all they could in their offense to exploit the size advantage, but whether he was down on the block with Prince or isolated on the wing against Billups, Gibson stood tall almost every time.

The confident 21-year-old also made two 3-pointers, blocked a shot and didn't commit a turnover in 29 minutes.

``We've thrown him on the floor in tight ballgames during the playoffs, and he's responded very well,'' Brown said. ``The biggest thing is keeping his composure. But he's tough, he's quick, he'll stick his nose in, everybody knows he can shoot if you leave him open - it's good.''

The Pistons feel the same way about Billups.

But Mr. Big Shot went only 4-of-14 from the field in Game 3 and had five turnovers, giving him 17 in the series.

``I've never been in (a rut) like this as far as turning the ball over,'' he said. ``My shot? Look, shooters shoot, your shot is going to be on and off.''

There was no panic as the Pistons practiced over at Cleveland State. Detroit, 18-0 in series it has led 2-0, lost three straight in last year's semis to the Cavs so they're aware how quickly things can turn.

But if Billups and Rip Hamilton (2-of-8) had only shot better, the Pistons feel they'd be up 3-0.

``We have two All-Stars that haven't been playing like All-Stars,'' said Billups, who isn't worried about he and his backcourt mate's funk. ``Man, we've got Game 4 and we'll see what happens. I'm not concerned at all.''

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Celtics improving Finals odds The Boston Celtics are showing signs that they want to be in the hunt to win the NBA Finals next season. Do oddsmakers feel the Celtics are...
Thumbnail Warriors re-sign Curry, Iguodala The Golden State Warriors are committed to keeping their championship team together. The team re-signed a number of players last week to improve their odds to...
Thumbnail Paul George joins the Thunder The Oklahoma City Thunderwon the Paul Georgesweepstakes last week. How has this impacted the team’s ability to win the NBA...
Thumbnail Rockets improve Finals odds After making a big splash this week, are the Houston Rockets making a push to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?

NBA Headlines

  • MIAMI (AP) Udonis Haslem believes he can still play, and the Miami Heat apparently agree.
    The three-time NBA champion has signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal to remain with the Heat for what...
  • SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Utah Jazz signed big man Eric Griffin to a two-way contract Thursday.
    Contract details were not released.
    Griffin was a member of the Jazz during NBA summer leagu...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) A person familiar with the negotiations says the Cleveland Cavaliers are discussing a contract with former NBA MVP Derrick Rose.
    The team is discussing a one-year deal with Ros...
  • SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Utah Jazz signed forward Royce O'Neale on Wednesday.
    Contract details were not released.
    The 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing played for Gran Canaria in Spain last season...
  • MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Mario Chalmers, nearly 1 1/2 years after he ruptured his right Achilles tendon playing for the team.
    The Grizzlies announced the de...

NBA Team Pages