AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: The starters struggled at both ends, allowing the Detroit Pistons to shoot 53 percent in their 117-99 victory over the Cavs, who have now lost five straight in this series.
The Pistons hammered the Cavs inside, outscoring them in the paint 62-42.
Tristan Thompson had 19 points and nine rebounds, but the other four starters combined to shoot 8 of 29 in the loss. With a home game Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and with the starters ineffective, coach Byron Scott elected to leave them on the bench for the fourth quarter while the reserves cut a 19-point deficit down to nine with 4:41 left.
The Cavs started fouling Charlie Villanueva, a 29 percent foul shooter, on every possession. While Villanueva was splitting his attempts, the Cavs couldn’t convert on the offensive end and the Pistons built the lead back to 16.
Kyrie Irving had 14 points and five assists and Mo Speights had 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench. The bench outscored the Cavs’ starters 54-45.