Pistons Toe-tally Squeak One Out at Home vs. Cavs
AUBURN HILLS, Mich, March 13 (Ticker) --
The Detroit Pistons were able to hang on by a toe.
Cleveland's Trajan Langdon
had his right foot on the arc on an apparent tying 3-pointer, allowing the Pistons to escape with an 85-84 victory over the Cavaliers.
After losing star guard Andre Miller
with 1:51 left, the Cavaliers battled back. With the Pistons holding an 84-82 lead, Michael Curry
slapped the ball away from Cleveland's Lamond Murray
and was fouled with 7.3 seconds left. After he hit 1-of-2 free throws, Langdon was inserted by coach John Lucas to attempt a 3-pointer.
Langdon dribbled to the left of the key and his right foot grazed the 3-point line before he double-pumped in the air and hit the jumper. As the Cavaliers raised their arms to signal a 3-pointer, Detroit's Jon Barry
pointed at the 3-point line and the referee agreed, calling it a two-point basket.
NBA.comTV highlights from Cavaliers-Pistons:
Chucky Atkins led Detroit with 19 points.
"It was disappointing that I didn't pull up a quarter of an inch earlier," Langdon said. "I thought I just got to the line, but I guess I slipped a little."
The Cavaliers were unable to foul Chucky Atkins
on the ensuing inbounds play as time expired.
"I give them a lot of credit," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "Even with their record, John has them playing hard."
Miller left with a hip pointer with 1:51 to go. Named to the United States 2002 World Championships team, Miller finished with 16 points and nine assists.
"Losing Andre killed us, but under the advice of the trainer I didn't play him," Lucas said. "I would say at this point that he's day-to-day."
The win moved the Pistons into sole possession of first place in the Central Division, one-half game ahead of the idle Milwaukee Bucks. Detroit hosts Utah on Friday before beginning a five-game road trip Saturday at Milwaukee.
The Pistons played without Jerry Stackhouse
but improved to 5-1 in games missed by their leading scorer. As has been the case throughout the season, Detroit received contributions from numerous players.
Atkins led the Pistons with 19 points and Corliss Williamson
came off the bench and scored 11 of his 16 in the fourth quarter. Williamson also had a season-high 13 rebounds.
scored 15 points, Barry had 13 as he started for the injured Stackhouse and Ben Wallace
grabbed 14 rebounds for the Pistons.
"I think they're better without Stackhouse," said Cleveland's Ricky Davis
, who had 13 points off the bench. "When he's not there, you never know who's going to step up and pick up the slack for them."
Robinson took charge in the first quarter, scoring 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting as the Pistons built a 27-16 lead.
A three-point play and a basket by Williamson gave Detroit its biggest lead at 38-22 with 6:02 left in the second quarter.
But Cleveland pulled within 45-35 at halftime and tied the game with a 19-9 third-quarter run.
Davis scored six points, Jumaine Jones
added a 3-pointer and a free throw and Miller completed a three-point play to highlight the spurt, tying the game at 59-59 with 2:12 left.
But Atkins, who scored 11 points in the quarter, hit a pair of free throws. Barry connected on a jumper and Wallace converted 1-of-2 free throws to give Detroit a 64-59 advantage before Langdon closed the quarter with a jumper.
Cleveland again knotted the game at 68-68 when Miller hit a jumper from the left side over Atkins with 9:12 left in the fourth quarter.
Williamson then took over for the Pistons, driving around Tyrone Hill
for a three-point play with 8:56 left. After Robinson blocked a driving shot by Miller, Barry set up Curry for a dunk, giving the Pistons a 73-68 advantage with 8:31 remaining.
Following a free throw by Cleveland's Wesley Person
, Williamson came flying across the lane from the baseline and tipped in a miss by Barry as he was fouled and converted the free throw, increasing Detroit's lead to 76-69 with 7:28 left.
"With Jerry out, I felt I had to step up and score," Williamson said.
"Corliss came in and gave us points when we were reeling," said Carlisle.
But the Cavs fought back with an 8-2 run as Person hit a jumper and had a tip-in, Miller scored on a reverse layup and Davis dunked, pulling the Cavs within 78-77 with 3:05 left.