Barren in Cleveland

Davis’ late 3 ices it as Cavs knock off Pistons

TEAM COLORS

The story of the game in Pistons red, white and blue

– J.J. Hickson took to the floor with fire from the very get-go. While he had been struggling as of late, he was still averaging 12.4 points and 9.4 boards in his last five games. In this game against the Pistons he managed to add 24 points, 15 boards and two assists. Hickson brought the energy early on in the game and helped serve as a catalyst for the Cavs. In a dismal and LeBron-less year for the Cavs, he has been one of the few bright spots for Cleveland’s squad this season. Now that Baron seems to be back, they seem to have a little more to look forward to.

BLUE COLLAR – Austin Daye put up 12 points during the first two quarters of play and showed continued growth by adding seven rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes. Charlie Villanueva didn’t play and Kuester said that he had communicated rotation logistics with Villanueva. “[Daye] had 12 points at the half, he was playing extremely well. I liked what I saw from him and so I stayed with him.”

RED FLAG – The Pistons have just 10 games left and have fallen to 6½ games behind the Pacers, who are seemingly set to take the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Time is running out to salvage what is left of a tough season in Detroit. “We had a couple chances at the end,” said Kuester. “Guys were fighting hard and we just have to keep finding guys that are going to continue to play hard the whole time.”

It’s been more than six weeks since the Pistons won on the road. Detroit’s last win away from home was on Feb. 9 in Cleveland against the Cavs, 103-94, after the Pistons’ bench put up 61 points. Their return to Cleveland should have been a good way for the Pistons to put an end to the losing skid, but the Cavs provided an intense vigor throughout the entire game and held the Pistons to just 42 precent shooting from the field.

Baron Davis returned to action and brought a much-needed boost to the Cavs’ offense. The Pistons trailed by just three points late in the fourth, but Davis hit a 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds left on the clock to put the Cavs up by six, putting the game out of reach for Detroit. Davis finished with 16 points, four rebounds and five assists. Baron got his groove back by bringing the right amount of energy and helped the Cavs seal the deal in the end.

The Pistons’ biggest lead over the Cavs was just two points and John Kuester said that the Cavs simply played harder tonight.

“They had more energy than us,” said Kuester. “They hurt us on offensive rebounds. We took care of the ball first half. Second half we ended up having too many turnovers. You try to warn the team when anybody plays hard in this league, good things will happen and they played harder than us. We had a chance to cut it to one right there in the end; we just couldn’t get over that hump.”

In a season where Detroit (25-47) has seen many struggles, there have been numerous games in which the Pistons just couldn’t get over that hump. This game was one that showcased those difficulties. They brought the energy at times but they also carried a heavy burden of missed shots and missed blocks which attributed to their close but not close enough finish.

“It was an unfortunate effort by all of us,” said Austin Daye, who put up 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. “I just think we didn’t have a lot of energy throughout the game and I think because we won our last game against them by such a wide margin I think we kind of took the game for granted a little bit, but next time we play them we definitely have to play them with a grade-A mindset.”

“Offensively I thought we were playing well - we were moving the ball,” said Anthony Parker on the Cavs’ effort. “We were getting good looks at the basket, where we were hurting ourselves was turning the ball over and giving them second-chance baskets and I think we tightened up on that in the fourth quarter.”

Friday’s loss to the Cavs was Detroit’s fourth straight loss and its eighth straight on the road. The Pistons return to Detroit for back-to-back action to host the Pacers on Saturday night at The Palace.