DETROIT: It has been nearly four years and two coaching changes, but the Cavaliers finally have a four-game winning streak.
Tristan Thompson had two putback dunks in the final 90 seconds and Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer in the final minute helped give 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.
“It feels good. It should feel good for the guys because they’ve definitely earned it,” Brown said. “They’re trying to do the right things. It’s not always pretty, but it feels good to be on the winning end of some of these games.”
The Cavs 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 two 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 two 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.
It’s the first time Irving and Thompson have won four consecutive games in their NBA career and the feeling within the Cavs locker room compared to just two weeks ago is noticeable.
“There’s a lot more smiling, it’s a lot more fun,” Irving said. “There’s been a burden let go from all of us. Everyone in this locker room is going to play for one another. Good, bad, ugly, if anybody has a bad game, good game, we’re going to support each other through it. That’s what it’s going to take to be a great team is playing through it no matter what goes on out there.”
Andre Drummond had 16 points and 17 rebounds and Josh Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who blew their 18th fourth-quarter lead. The Cavs escaped with a victory for the second consecutive night despite facing a strong post team without Anderson Varejao, their best post defender.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Irving said. “Four in a row, first time in my career, it’s a big step. Now we’re going into All-Star weekend with momentum, hopefully we can continue this.”
The Cavs are off for the All-Star break and won’t play again until Tuesday at the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.