Pistons Late Rally Foils Cavs

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Omri Casspi led the Wine and Gold with 18 points in Tuesday's loss.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE/Getty Images
Byron Scott’s young squad will continue to learn as they grow. On Tuesday night, they got a tough lesson on letting one slip away.

The Wine and Gold led by as many as a dozen points in the second half – including a three-point lead with 12.3 seconds to play – but a costly turnover in the waning moments sent the Cavaliers to a frustrating 90-89 loss in the preseason finale at The Q.

Luke Harangody entered the game with less than a minute to play when Ryan Hollins fouled out, and the former Domer was fouled rebounding a Brandon Knight miss. He sank both free throws with 12.3 remaining to put Cleveland
up, 89-86.

But Will Bynum scored on a put-back four ticks later to draw Detroit to within one, and Omri Casspi’s entry pass was stolen with less than seven seconds to play. Austin Daye was fouled and canned both free throws to give Detroit the late one-point edge. Harangody got a wide-open look at the buzzer, but his jumper drew back iron.

“I think we did a lot of good things, especially on the defensive end,” said Coach Scott. “Offensively we got a little impatient in the fourth quarter, one pass and shot. When we got back to getting some ball movement, we got wide open shots.”

Going with a different combination from Friday night’s win in Motown, Coach Scott continued to get a look at some of his new faces. In Friday’s win, rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson stepped up big. On Tuesday, Omri Casspi got in on the act.

Casspi, acquired this past July from Sacramento, led the Cavaliers with 18 points – going 8-for-11 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. Casspi added five boards, an assist and a blocked shot. Unfortunately, he also committed a pair of turnovers – with the second proving quite costly.

“We’ve made huge progress since day one of training camp,” said Casspi. “It was great for us because we’re a young team and we’re learning. The coaches gave us a lot of information for us to learn – especially for me, a new guy on the team. I think we’ve made great progress, but still have things to work on.”

Antawn Jamison followed up with 13 points despite not shooting particularly well (3-of-11 FG) and Anthony Parker added a 12 – going 4-for-6 from the floor, canning three of his four attempts from long-distance.

Rookie Kyrie Irving came off Cleveland’s bench to finish with 11 points – adding three assists and a pair of steals while not committing a single turnover in 25 minutes of action.

“When I played at Detroit there were a lot of jitters going in, my first preseason game,” said the former Blue Devil. “In this game I changed up my pace. I just slowed the game down like I did at Duke. I had to make quicker decisions, which will be one of my biggest transitions to the NBA.”

Irving and fellow freshman, Tristan Thompson, came off the bench as they did in the first meeting against Detroit. On Tuesday – with the preseason done and the opener less than a week away – Coach Scott mixed and matched his rotations, with Ryan Hollins, Daniel Gibson and Casspi getting major minutes.

Hollins struggled from the floor and picked up four fouls in the fourth quarter. Gibson went just 2-of-9 from the field, but did dish out four helpers off the bench. The aforementioned Casspi played well for the Cavaliers in his first real action at The Q.

Detroit’s Austin Daye led all scorers with 19 points, including the game-winning free throws. Rodney Stuckey came off the bench with 15, with Greg Monroe and Damien Wilkens added a dozen points apiece.

After splitting their preseason series with the Pistons, the Cavaliers will get a few more practices in before the regular season tips off on December 26 against the Raptors at The Q.