Final Dime: Cavaliers 99, Pistons 92
Mo Williams finished with eight points in Friday's win over Detroit.
David Liam Kyle
But the Cavaliers got their feet under them before intermission and, after holding Detroit to just 15 points in the third, took the lead on the first possession of the fourth quarter on an Antawn Jamison three-pointer. From there, they never looked back – running away with the 99-92 victory on Friday night at The Q.
The win was Cleveland’s sixth straight – on the heels of a three-game losing streak that came on the heels of a 13-game win streak.
Actually, the game’s momentum took a turn when Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey collapsed on the Pistons bench with 2:30 to play in the third period. The game was delayed for 12 minutes before Stuckey was taken away on a stretcher and transported to Cleveland Clinic.
After play resumed, the Pistons – who were leading by six at the time – were understandably not the same team.
LeBron James canned two straight bombs to end the quarter and get Cleveland to within a bucket. And on the first possession of the fourth period, Jamison’s three gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the ballgame at 71-70. Detroit wouldn’t lead for the remainder of the evening.
“Guys started talking about getting stops, they started talking about getting after the 50/50 balls, they started talking about boxing out and having pride in guarding your own man,” said Coach Brown. “That’s what helped changed the flow.”
LeBron led everyone with 40 points – going 16-for-27 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the stripe. The reigning MVP added a game-high 13 boards, six assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots. The league’s top fourth-quarter scorer notched 12 of his 40 in the final period on Friday night.
“I do whatever’s possible for my team to win ball games,” said James. “If they need me to score, pass, rebound, whatever it takes. I just try to give it to this franchise every time I take the floor.”
Jamison followed up with 17 points, going 7-for-13 from the floor but just 1-of-5 from the line. As a team the Wine and Gold shot just 56 percent on the night – including 2-for-8 in the first half.
As always, the Cavaliers got a big lift off their bench in the form of Anderson Varejao and Delonte West.
Varejao doubled-up, going 8-of-10 from the field for 16 points to go with 10 boards in 39 frenetic minutes off Mike Brown’s bench. Delonte added 12 points and a team-high seven assists, going nearly 29 minutes without a single turnover.
Cleveland didn’t hit a three-pointer in the first half, but went 6-for-15 in the second – including 3-of-6 from long-distance in the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers travel to Milwaukee for the second-half of the Central Division back-to-back when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the hot Bucks on Saturday night.
2. Rodney Stuckey, who suffered from an apparent seizure near Detroit’s bench, was taken by ambulance to the Cleveland Clinic for further testing an observation. At last report, the third-year pro was breathing on his own and his vital signs were stable.
3. With his fifth minute played on Friday night, LeBron knocked down another franchise record, this time in minutes-played at 21,573 – passing games-played leader, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
4. In the month of February, LeBron averaged 32.6 points and 10.5 assists. The last player to average 30-plus points and 10-plus assists for an entire month was Tiny Archibald in 1972.
5. Midway through the first quarter, the fans at Quicken Loans Arena set the record for people wearing fleece blankets when they donned their Snuggies for a five-minute period. Danny Green even went out and took few pregame warm-ups in his Snuggie.
6. The Pistons have now held the Cavaliers under the century mark for the 28th consecutive game. The last time Cleveland topped 100 points against Detroit was December 20, 2002.
7. It’s not just the Cavaliers that have difficulty scoring when the two teams meet. Since 2006-07, the Cavaliers-Pistons series has been the lowest scoring in the NBA. The two clubs – Detroit (86.7) and Cleveland (84.2) – average just 170.9 points per contest.
8. The Cavaliers came into the matchup with Detroit second in the league in second-half defense, allowing teams just 45.2 points after intermission. (Oklahoma City leads the NBA at 45.0.) On Friday night, the Wine and Gold allowed just 37 second-half points.
9. Daniel Gibson missed his second straight game following the birth of his son, Daniel, Jr., on Wednesday. His coach didn’t seem overly concerned about his return.
“When it comes to family situations, I’m not a guy to put an urgent timetable back on anybody,” said Brown. “I want to make sure that the person dealing with that family matter – whatever it is – to be comfortable with whatever they have going before coming back. And I told him to take as long as he needs.”
10. Over his last three games, Delonte West has averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest. West hasn’t committed a turnover in his last four games.