Cavs 113, Pistons 101
Don't fool yourself, the game wasn't that much of a blowout. The Cavs padded the lead toward the end. For much of the game, it looked as if they were taking the Pistons lightly as they let them hang around. It was as if one team were still playing a rivalry and the other wasn't.
LeBron James notched his fourth triple double (29 points, 12 rebounds, 12 points) on the season and point guard Mo Williams hit on 5-of-8 three point shots, including three in the fourth quarter, to score 20 points, but still the victory didn't come until coach Mike Brown challenged his team.
The problem: the refs. And the Cavs were letting it be known that they didn't appreciate the calls, lack thereof or both. Eventually Brown had enough of it.
''We were starting to complain too much. I think we’re good enough to win despite any obstacles in front of us. I just wanted our guys to know and understand we can go win no matter what’s going on out on the floor,'' he said. '' We’re good enough to go win a ballgame.
''I was complaining. Some other guys were complaining, so I wanted to put an end to it and LeBron did. I was complaining a little later in the game and he turned to me and said: ‘’I don’t want no call, Mike! Don’t say nothing. I don’t want no call.’ And I said: ‘OK, I wont’ say anything.’’’
It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter when they put this one away. With as little as 4:28 left on the clock, the Pistons had tied the game on three Charlie Villaneuva free throws. A couple of stops, including a quasi-controversial non-call, helped the Cavs gain some momentum. The play: LeBron James laying in wait to chase down a Will Bynum shot with 1:35 to go and the Cavs up by just three points.
The crowd thought it was goaltending. The Pistons Jonas Jerebko thought it was goaltending, but the refs did not.
''That was definitely goaltending, but the refs said it was still going up, so it didn't (get called),'' he Jerebko said.
''I did sense I got it before it hit the glass…but it could have gone the other way,'' he said.
The team's bench players came through in a big one once again, scoring 34 points. This time with Jawad Williams contributing 10 points and Daniel Gibson coming out of mothballs to knock in a couple of valuable three-point shots.
Game: Cavs (53-15) vs. Detroit Pistons (23-45)
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Cavs: Shaquille O'Neal (thumb surgery), Sebastian Telfair (groin), Delonte West (sprained knee) - OUT.
Pistons: Ben Wallace (right patella tendon strain), Rodney Stuckey - OUT. Tayshaun Prince is a game-time decision.
Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Matt Boland and Kane Fitzgerald.
The Pistons are missing two key elements of their team tonight and they may be without a third. Ben Wallace and Rodney Stuckey are definitely out. Stuckey is still recovering from the incident that took place on March 5th at Quicken Loans Arena. Pistons coach John Kuester said that they hope to get medical clearance on Stuckey this week and they'd want to see him in practice a couple times before he returns to the court. Tayshaun Pricne will be a game-time decision.
The Cavs will be without Delonte West, who apparently sprained a knee against the Boston Celtics. Given the role he's had recently it's significant, but I suspect it won't be that great of an impact on the game.