Final Dime: Cavaliers 97, Pistons 91
Baron Davis notched 16 points in his return to the lineup on Friday night.
David Liam Kyle
The Wine and Gold led after every quarter – propelled by J.J. Hickson’s monster effort – and held off a late Pistons rally to snap a four-game losing streak with the 97-91 win on Friday night at The Q.
Hickson, who moved back to his natural position of power forward two games ago, recorded 12 points, three boards and a block in the first quarter – and barely let up the rest of the way. The third-year pro from North Carolina State finished with game-highs in points (24) and rebounds (15), adding two steals, a pair of assists and a blocked shot.
J.J. got the Wine and Gold rolling, but it was Baron Davis – returning from three games on the shelf with back spasms – who closed the deal for Cleveland.
With under 10 seconds to play and the Cavaliers clinging to a three point lead, 94-91, Davis dribbled to the right side and drained a 25-foot bomb to put the affair on ice. The three-time All-Star netted 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
"It's always nice when you can have a guy that is a closer," praised Coach Scott. "As soon as (Davis) took the ball over to the right side, I knew he was going to shoot. He kind of took it upon himself to close the game out."
The win was one of Cleveland’s most convincing of the season. Detroit led 2-0 after the first possession of the game, but didn’t grab an advantage for the rest of the night.
But, as always, the Pistons didn’t make it easy – reducing the Cavaliers’ eight-point edge with just under five minutes to play to just a single point. Chris Wilcox’ putback got Detroit to within one, 92-91, with 1:39 to play. But Daniel Gibson’s 17-foot jumper gave Cleveland a three-point lead that Baron Davis would double seconds later.
Davis was one of four Cavaliers in double-figures, joined by Ryan Hollins and Luke Harangody – who finished with 10 points apiece. Hollins led the Wine and Gold with a pair of blocks and Harangody grabbed nine boards in the win.
The Cavaliers shot 46 percent as a team and outrebounded Detroit by a 51-39 margin. Cleveland finished with 21 assists – with Davis, Ramon Sessions and Anthony Parker accounting for 18 of them.
The Wine and Gold’s five-game homestand rolls on this weekend as Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks roll into The Q for a Sunday night showdown.
2. After missing the last three games with back spasms, Baron Davis returned to the rotation in style on Friday night, going 6-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from long-distance in 24 extremely productive minutes off Byron Scott’s bench.
3. After undergoing successful cardiac surgery back in January, the Cavaliers announced on Friday that the legendary “Voice of the Cavaliers” – Joe Tait – will return to his spot behind the mic for Sunday night’s game against Atlanta and the remaining home games this season.
4. Since January 1, J.J. Hickson has notched eight games of at least 15 points and 15 boards.
"I’m the kind of guy that would take 15 rebounds over 15 points any day," said Hickson. "It’s just me being active and I’m just translating that to the four (position) right now."
5. Former Big East foes, Luke Harangody and Samardo Samuels, came up big on Friday. Harangody was an efficient 3-of-6 from the floor, hitting his only three-point attempt, adding an assist and blocked shot. Samuels went 3-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the stripe for nine points – adding three boards, two steals and a block.
6. Since March 16, Ramon Sessions is one of the top shooting point guards in the league, shooting at a .544 clip during that stretch. San Antonio’s Tony Parker is tops from the field at .579.
7. Pistons coach, John Kuester, along with forward Ben Wallace made their return to The Q. Coach Kue, who’s had a rough season in Motown, was an assistant under Mike Brown from 2007-09. Ben Wallace, who also spent two seasons in Cleveland, was inactive with a sore left knee.
8. When the NCAA Tournament tipped off, six Cavaliers had their former teams in action. Only one (Antawn Jamison, North Carolina) still has a team remaining.
9. Friday’s win over the Pistons was the Cavaliers’ first home win in March and just their second win this season over a Central Division opponent.
10. The Cavaliers came into Friday’s game ranked 7th in the league in bench scoring at 34.8 ppg. Against the Pistons, Byron Scott’s reserves netted 44 points. Cleveland got all 22 fourth-quarter points from their reserves, led by Davis, Harangody and Christian Eyenga.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.