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Cavs oust Pistons, Rockets in control

THE Cleveland Cavaliers completed their expected sweep of an overmatched Detroit Pistons in Sunday's National Basketball Association playoff action, while a determined Chicago Bulls continued to take the fight to the Boston Celtics.

LeBron James scored 36 points to spark the Cavaliers to a 99-78 win over the Pistons in Detroit, the top seeds easing into the Eastern Conference semifinals with four straight victories in their best-of-seven series.

Seventh-seeded Chicago eked out a gritty win in double overtime, defeating defending champion Boston 121-118 to knot their series at 2-2.

In other games, the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 89-88 to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference series and Orlando pulled even with Philadelphia with an 84-81 win in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference battle.

James also had 13 rebounds and eight assists in another dominant show for Cleveland.

"That's two games that he almost had a triple-double," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown told reporters. "He just does so much more than score for us."

Detroit had made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference finals but the Pistons could not keep up with the Cavaliers, who also got 24 points from Mo Williams.

Late free throws

In Chicago, John Salmons closed out the Celtics with two late free throws.

"This is the biggest game of our careers," Ben Gordon, who sent the game into double overtime with a three-pointer and scored 22 points, said. "This says we never give up. We have a lot of fight on our side."

Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

Paul Pierce had 29 points for Boston and Ray Allen 28, including a three-pointer that forced the first overtime.

Rajon Rondo added a triple-double - 25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

The teams return to Boston for Game 5 tomorrow.

In Houston, Yao Ming delivered 21 points and 12 rebounds as Houston held off Portland, which pulled within one point on Rudy Fernandez's three-pointer with 2.3 seconds to play.

Luis Scola scored 17 points and Shane Battier added 14 points and six assists for the Rockets, who snapped a six-game losing streak in the fourth game of a playoff series. Game 5 is tomorrow in Portland.

Brandon Roy scored 31 points and went 13-for-13 from the free-throw line for the Blazers.

In Philadelphia, Hedo Turkoglu's three with 0.9 seconds to play was the decider for Orlando. Teammate Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds to deadlock the series 2-2.

Andre Miller led the Sixers with 17. Game 5 is in Orlando.


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