DETROIT: It has been nearly four years and two coaching changes, but the Cavaliers finally have a four-game winning streak.
Tristan Thompson had a pair of putback dunks in the final 90 seconds and Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer gave the Cavs a 93-89 victory Wednesday over the Detroit Pistons in a game they trailed most of the night.
It’s the first time the Cavs have won at least four in a row since March 8-24, 2010 when they won eight straight. That was before Mike Brown was fired, Byron Scott was hired and fired and Brown was re-hired.
They fell behind by 11 early in the game and trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, but kept fighting back.
They finally wrestled away the lead for the first time with 2:06 to play when Irving made a pair of free throws for an 82-81 lead. Following a Josh Smith dunk to give the Pistons their final lead of the night, Thompson grabbed an offensive rebound off an Earl Clark miss and dunked it. He followed an Irving miss on the ensuing possession with another putback dunk to give the Cavs an 86-83 lead with 59 seconds left.
Kyle Singler made a pair of free throws to pull the Pistons within a point, but Irving’s 3-pointer as the shot clock buzzer sounded gave the Cavs an 89-85 lead with 27 seconds left and that elusive four-game winning streak.
Irving had 23 points and four assists, including 11 points and four assists in the fourth quarter, while Thompson had 25 points and 15 rebounds. He had 14 points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs pulled within a point of the Pistons twice in the third quarter, but couldn’t tie the game or wrestle away the lead. Jarrett Jack split a pair of free throws with 4:03 left in the third to pull the Cavs within 59-58, but the Cavs didn’t have a field goal over the final 5:16 of the third and the Pistons extended the lead to 66-59 entering the fourth.
The Pistons destroyed the Cavs in rebounding in the third quarter and could’ve pushed the game out of reach, but struggled on second and even third looks at the rim. The Pistons outrebounded the Cavs 20-12 in the third quarter, including nine offensive rebounds, but coaxed only five points out of all those extra looks.
While both the Cavs and Pistons are at the bottom of the East standings, the two teams entered tied with the Orlando Magic as the “hottest” in the conference, with each carrying three-game winning streaks.
Andre Drummond had 16 points and 17 rebounds and Josh Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, but the Cavs again escaped with a victory for the second consecutive night despite facing a strong post team without their best post defender in Anderson Varejao.
The Cavs are now off for the All-Star break and won’t play again until Tuesday at the Philadelphia 76ers.