Pistons Pull Past Cavaliers

Rookies' Big Effort Can't Halt Fifth Straight Loss
Antawn Jamison
Sometimes basketball boils down to its most basic theory – making shots. On Wednesday night, the Wine and Gold didn’t do that, and the Pistons made them pay – handing the Cavs their fifth straight loss.

The cool-shooting Cavaliers started strong, but their offensive production fell through each quarter. They netted just 14 points in the fourth quarter and Detroit pulled away to take the 87-75 win – the Pistons’ first over Cleveland this season.

The Cavaliers turned in a solid effort – led by their two prized rookies – but on the night, they shot just 34 percent from the floor.

Cleveland led by a bucket after one period, but trailed by five at intermission. But the Pistons began the third quarter with a 17-7 run that gave them sufficient breathing space. The Cavs cut Detroit’s lead back to five with just over four minutes remaining in regulation, but could get no closer.

“We did some pretty good things defensively – pick and roll defense could have been a little bit better,” said Coach Scott. “Overall defensively, I thought we played pretty well and played pretty hard. We just couldn’t make a shot.”

Kyrie Irving had his best game in a week – flirting with a triple-double for much of the night and finishing with 22 points, nine boards and six assists. Irving was 9-of-19 from the floor, adding a pair of steals. On the negative side of the ledger, Irving committed five miscues in his third straight game.

“I feel like we played a lot better in transition than we did last night, but tonight just came down to the last possessions and a few shots that didn’t go our way,” said Irving.

Fellow freshman, Tristan Thompson led both clubs with 11 boards, adding nine points and matching Antawn Jamison with a team-high three blocked shots.

Jamison was the only other Cavalier to score in double-figures – netting 12 of his 17 points in the second half.

The Cavaliers got 19 points off their bench, led by Manny Harris’ nine-point effort.

Detroit got a big effort from a rejuvenated Tayshaun Prince, who led both teams with a season-high 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting. Rookie Brandon Knight followed up with 16 points and Jason Maxiell added a dozen.

The Cavaliers welcome another Central Division foe – the Milwaukee Bucks – to The Q for the first of another back-to-back on Friday night. The following day, they take on the Knicks in New York.

  • Maybe he put his poor free throw shooting behind him when he came of age, but since his 21st birthday on March 13, Tristan Thompson is shooting .714 (30-42) from the stripe.

  • Samardo Samuels has the locker room bragging rights of having the only alma mater in this weekend’s Final Four. But even he wasn’t so sure heading into last weekend.

    “I’ve been doubting (Louisville),” smiled Samuels. “I had them losing to Michigan State. I thought it’d be a tough game, with Michigan State being a No. 1 seed. I thought it’d be tough for them, but they came through. So I can’t doubt them from here on out. I gotta ride with the Cards from this point on.”

  • Newly-acquired forward, Luke Walton, and Cavaliers coach Byron Scott both celebrated birthdays on Wednesday.

  • Even with Tuesday’s loss, since 2009, the Cavaliers have had more success against the Pistons than any other opponent – going 11-3 against Detroit in that span. (They’re 5-1 against the Clippers and Kings in that span; 9-2 against the Knicks.)

  • The Cavs lead the league in opponents three-point shooting in the fourth quarter, allowing foes just over 26 percent from beyond the arc. (Detroit was just 1-of-4 from three-point range in Wednesday’s fourth period.)

  • Kyrie Irving came into Wednesday’s game averaging 18.6 ppg and shooting .403 from three-point range. If he continues on that pace, he’ll join only Larry Bird as the only rookie to put up those numbers.

  • Tristan Thompson is third among rookies recording double-doubles. Thompson barely missed on Wednesday, but still has five this season – one less than Denver’s Kenneth Faried and seven behind the leader, Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio.