CLEVELAND: It wasn’t a slow start that doomed the Cavs this time, it was a terrible second half against a terrible opponent with a terrible road record.
All of that makes the Cavs pretty terrible these days.
The Cavaliers lost to the Detroit Pistons at home on Saturday 104-97. It’s the same Pistons team that began the night 1-10 on the road and winless away from the Palace since Nov. 14. The same Pistons who are 2-0 against the Cavs this year and 5-15 against everyone else.
It has been a difficult week for the Cavs, who crawl into an off day Sunday losers of five straight and nine of their last 10. They led for a total of 63 seconds in their three previous games prior to Saturday, but a decent first quarter and a strong second, when they outscored the Pistons 24-7 at one point, sent the Cavs to the locker room with a slim 52-49 lead. It may not sound like much, but the Cavs hadn’t led a game that late since last Saturday’s double overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, when Dion Waiters went down with a sprained left ankle.
After spending the last week unsuccessfully trying to dig out of big deficits early in games, this time they couldn’t hold onto the lead. The Pistons’ Brandon Knight scored a career-high 30 points, including 23 in the second half. The Pistons took control of the game with a flurry of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including two each from Knight and Charlie Villanueva and one from Rodney Stuckey. Five of the Pistons’ first seven baskets in the fourth quarter were 3-pointers.
The Cavs made one final run, pulling within 99-94 in the final minute, but Anderson Varejao split a pair of free throws when the Cavs needed him to make both to have a chance at forcing overtime.
Varejao had another double-double, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds one night after his streak of 10 consecutive double-doubles was snapped. Jeremy Pargo had 24 points and four assists, while C.J. Miles had a season-high 15 points off the bench and has now scored 28 points in his last two games. Tyler Zeller had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Alonzo Gee had 12 points and nine rebounds.
In a continuing trend that has been evident most of the season, the Cavs again struggled to get to the free-throw line. The Pistons were 25 of 33 from the line, while the Cavs were just 13 of 17.
In their last two games, the Cavs are 19 of 26 from the free-throw line, while the opponents are 52 of 67.