Pistons Outlast Cavs at The Q
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers finally had their young backcourt duo back in action together, but it was Detroit’s frontline tandem of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe that did the big damage on Wednesday night – combining for 52 points and 19 boards as the Wine and Gold dropped their second straight, a 111-104 decision at The Q.
Dion Waiters returned from a knee injury that’s sidelined him since early March, albeit in a reserve role. But his comeback effort wasn’t enough to help Cleveland from preventing Detroit from sweeping the season series for the first time since 2002-03.
With just under five minutes to play in regulation, the Cavs adopted a “hack-a-Drummond” strategy, putting the 34 percent free throw shooting rookie on the stripe every time he touched the ball. But Drummond responded by going 9-for-17 from the line en route to a career-high 29 points.
The Cavaliers were paced by Kyrie Irving, who had another big scoring night – tallying 27 points to go with nine assists. Tristan Thompson, the only other starter in double-figures, added 19 points, eight boards and a pair of steals. In Waiters return, the rookie from Syracuse finished with 11 points on 5-for-12 shooting, adding three boards and an assist in just over 15 minutes of action.
Turning Point – Wednesday’s was a game of ebb and flow, featuring 18 ties and a dozen lead changes. Cleveland overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit and the contest was nip-and-tuck throughout the fourth. The Cavs lead by a point on Kyrie’s short jumper with just over two minutes to play, but Drummond tied the affair at 99-apiece on the next trip down the floor. He sank two more on Detroit’s next possession, giving the Pistons a late lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – After snapping his shooting slump on Tuesday in Indiana, Irving had his second straight solid outing, going 7-for-15 from the floor and 12-of-13 from the stripe. With his nine helpers on Wednesday, Kyrie is now averaging 7.6 assists per contest since returning from a shoulder injury on March 31.
By the Numbers – 20.6, 5.6 … Kyrie Irving’s scoring and assist numbers through his first two years in the league, putting him on pace to become just the fourth No. 1 overall pick – joining Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson and LeBron James – to average over 20 points and five dimes through his sophomore season.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, succinctly summarizing his squad’s fortunes against Detroit …
“We definitely had our chances.”
Up Next – After Wednesday’s loss, the Cavaliers have just four games remaining in the regular season – welcoming the Knicks to The Q on Friday, traveling to Philly to face off against the Sixers on Sunday, hosting the Knicks on Monday night and closing out the campaign on Wednesday night in Charlotte.