Final Dime: Cavaliers 113, Pistons 101


LeBron James notched his fourth triple-double of the season in Tuesday's win.
Allen Einstein
NBAE/Getty Images
1. It took the Cavaliers just over 43 minutes to throw the switch in Detroit, but when they did, it was an eye-opening display of why they own the league’s best mark.

After a flat first three-and-a-half quarters, the Cavaliers caught fire down the stretch – closing out the Pistons with an 8-0 run to win their fourth straight, 113-101, on Tuesday night at The Palace.

Cleveland couldn’t seem to shake the scrappy Pistons, and Charlie Villanueva’s three free throws tied the game at 91-apiece with five minutes to play.

But the combination of LeBron James, Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao either scored or assisted on each of the Cavaliers’ final 22 points and Cleveland clamped down in the final two minutes. Will Bynum’s layup attempt with 1:35 to play would have drawn the Pistons to within one, but LeBron James swooped in to pluck it off the backboard.

Along with the blocked shot, LeBron saved his best for last – notching 24 of his 29 points in the second half; 15 in the fourth quarter. The reigning MVP also notched his fourth triple-double of the season, adding 12 boards and 12 assists.

"I haven't scored many points in the first half, but fourth quarter, second half, is when you have to perform at a high level," said James. "For the most part that's when the games are going to be close and that's when it’s close-out time for me. That's what I work out for and that's what I prepare myself for."

Mo Williams did his best work down the stretch as well, netting 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter – splashing home a pair of big three-pointers to give the Cavs some breathing room after Villanueva knotted the affair. Williams finished 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.

"Obviously LeBron was terrific and every assist, rebound and bucket was needed," praised Coach Mike Brown. "Late in the game, when it was a close ball game, he got Mo (Williams) a three by calling that play. He called that play a couple of times in a row and Mo knocked down some big shots."

Unlike the aforementioned duo, Antawn Jamison did most of his heavy lifting in the first half, where he tallied 13 of his 15 points and nine of his 10 rebounds. Tuesday’s effort was Jamison’s third double-double in his last four outings.

Once again, the Wine and Gold got strong contributions from their bench.

Jawad Williams finished with 10 points in 20 workmanlike minutes, Leon Powe added seven points and four clutch boards and Daniel Gibson went 2-for-3 in spot duty with Delonte West getting a rest. Of course, Anderson Varejao did a little bit of everything – finishing with nine points, six boards, four steals, three assists and a blocked shot.

The Cavaliers will look for the season sweep against Detroit when they welcome the Pistons to town on Sunday night. But first, they’ll play the second half of a Central Division back-to-back when the Pacers roll into The Q on Wednesday.

2. With Tuesday’s win, the Cavaliers have now won six straight over the Pistons – including their last three at The Palace.

3. For the second straight season, the Wine and Gold boast the biggest divisional lead in the NBA at 15 games. Monday’s matchup was the first of four Central Division pairings for the Cavaliers. With Tuesday’s win, Cleveland is now 8-2 against its divisional foes this year.

4. The Cavaliers have now topped 23 straight sub-.500 squads.

5. LeBron James is tied with Kobe Bryant for the most games with 20-point second halves at 14. For the season, James is averaging 14.4 ppg in the second half, including 7.5 ppg in the fourth quarter – both tops in the league.

6. After going 4-for-5 on Tuesday night, Anderson Varejao is shooting a jaw-dropping .738 (45-of-61) from the floor since Shaq has gone down with a thumb injury.

7. Tuesday night’s win over Detroit was the Cavaliers’ 15th win in their last 20 road games – giving them a league-leading 23-11 mark away from The Q.

8. Delonte West was a late scratch on Tuesday night – given the night off to rest his left knee. Boobie Gibson stepped in admirably, scoring all five of his points in an early fourth-quarter run for Cleveland.

9. From the department of useless statistics, the Cavaliers are now 9-2 on Tuesday night games. This year, they’re 5-0 on Monday, 9-3 on Wednesday, 5-3 on Thursday, 11-3 on Friday, 8-1 on Saturday, and 6-3 on Sunday. If you’re looking to buy tickets to The Q, Cleveland hasn’t lost at home on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday.

10. LeBron James’ triple-double was the fourth this season and 28th of his career. Cleveland is 22-6 when LeBron hits the trifecta over his career, but just 2-2 this season.