Notebook: Pistons 104, Cavaliers 97



Posted Dec 9, 2012 12:50 AM

By Brian Dulik, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Point guard Brandon Knight scored 23 of his career-high 30 points in the second half as the Detroit Pistons rallied for a 104-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. Knight added seven rebounds and five assists, while Detroit small forward Tayshaun Prince chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds. Point guard Jeremy Pargo scored 24 points to lead Cleveland, which also received 16 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and five assists from center Anderson Varejao. The Pistons (7-15) outscored the Cavaliers 55-45 in the second half to beat them for the second time in six days.

QUOTABLE: "It's always fun to play the Cavs and go against all the players you know. They did a great job contesting my shots in the first half -- not that they didn't in the second -- but I was more aggressive taking advantage of my opportunities."

-- Pistons point guard Brandon Knight

THE STAT: Knight's top two scoring performances in the NBA have come against the Cavaliers (4-17). His high-water mark as a rookie was 28 points against Cleveland on April 17, 2012 -- and he is averaging 25.0 points in his last three games against them. "I think it's more our style of play that matches up well with theirs, not anything different that I'm doing against them," said Knight, who went 10-for-20 on field goals, including 5-for-6 on 3-pointers, and 5-for-6 on free throws in 38 minutes.

TURNING POINT: After the Cavaliers scored 10 straight points to take a 62-54 lead with 8:19 left in the third quarter, Detroit answered with a 22-8 run to take control. Knight's long 3-pointer put the Pistons up for good at 71-68 with 1:36 remaining in the third, while Charlie Villanueva's trey midway through the fourth gave Detroit its largest advantage at 94-80. "The game really changed with six minutes left in the third," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "From that point on, we bent, but we didn't break."

QUOTABLE II: "[Knight] got pretty aggressive in the second half. It seemed that every time he got a pick-and-roll, he split it. He started pushing the ball and putting pressure on our defense. He got his team together to get the win."

-- Cavaliers shooting guard Daniel Gibson

HOT: NBA rebounding leader Varejao posted his 11th double-double in his last 12 games, giving him a career-high 15 double-doubles just 20 contests into the 2012-2013 NBA season. The mop-topped Brazilian is averaging 14.5 points and 15.2 boards on the campaign. ... Cavaliers shooting guard C.J. Miles scored a season-high 15 points in 15 minutes off the bench. ... Cleveland center Tyler Zeller had 13 points and eight boards in a reserve role. ... Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey had a team-best six assists while backing up Knight.

NOT: Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson committed two fouls in the first 86 seconds and was sent to the bench. The second-year pro finished the night with just one defensive rebound in 24 minutes. ... Cleveland is 2-8 with point guard Kyrie Irving in its lineup and 2-9 with him in street clothes. ... The Pistons are 2-10 on the road, but snapped their four-game skid away from The Palace of Auburn Hills with the seven-point triumph. ... Detroit center Greg Monroe missed six of his eight field goal attempts, all from close range.

QUOTABLE III: "It was good to get a road win, but it's also good that we were able to play tonight because we had a couple of heartbreakers that we needed to get over."

-- Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince

GOOD MOVE: One night after the Pistons blew a 17-point lead in a 108-104 home loss to Chicago, Frank didn't take any chances with his bench. Detroit only used four substitutes -- Stuckey, center Andre Drummond, shooting guard Corey Maggette, and power forward Villanueva -- and each contributed down the stretch. "Andre and Rodney really injected some energy that we needed," Frank said. "Charlie also hit a couple of big threes in the fourth that helped us get the win."

BAD MOVE: Varejao only sat out the final 130 seconds of the second quarter after bruising his left elbow. He underwent X-rays at halftime, which were negative, and insisted on starting the second half -- instead of taking some much-needed time off. The Cavaliers begin a grueling four-games-in-five-nights stretch Tuesday against the Lakers. "It's not enough to box Varejao out, you've got to ride him out of bounds," Drummond said. "He's a very, very tough guy to go up against."

NOTABLE: Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said "there is a chance" that Irving (left index finger fracture) and shooting guard Dion Waiters (left ankle sprain) could play against the Lakers. "Both have not been cleared by the doctors yet, but it would be a nice surprise to have one or both of them back," the coach said. "I'm not ruling them out at this point." ... Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Irving last played on Nov. 18 against Philadelphia, while Waiters was injured on Dec. 1 against Portland. Cleveland is 0-4 without its starting backcourt in uniform. "I don't want guys to start waiting for Kyrie and Dion to come back," Gibson said. "Yeah, we're down a closer or two, but we've had opportunities to win all of these games."

UP NEXT: For the Pistons, Monday @ Philadelphia, Tuesday vs. Denver, Friday @ Brooklyn. For the Cavaliers, Tuesday vs. L.A. Lakers, Wednesday @ Indiana, Friday vs. Milwaukee.