By Ryan Lewis
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers couldn’t do much of anything on either end of the floor and were blown out by the Detroit Pistons 115-92 at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night.
This one was over early and got uglier as the night progressed. The Pistons (14-16) led by 10 after the first quarter, by 18 at halftime and by 25 heading into the fourth quarter.
It was the Cavs’ worst home loss this season by 12 points, topping the Miami Heat’s 11-point victory in Cleveland Nov. 27. It’s also the Cavs’ third 20-point loss this season (Nov. 13 at Minnesota, No. 23 at San Antonio).
The exclamation point Monday night came in the form of two thunderous Andre Drummond dunks to close out the third quarter, garnering some boos from the home crowd. It was that kind of night for the Cavs (10-17): bad news followed by more bad news.
“Our sense of urgency the last two ballgames has been nonexistent,” coach Mike Brown said. “Our grittiness, our sense of urgency, defensively, has not been there. Even some of the games we’ve won — Milwaukee, I don’t think it was there, we just outscored them. Portland, it wasn’t really there because of the way they beat us up on the glass. And I’m not sure why, right now, why we’re playing like that defensively.”
Facing a formidable Pistons frontcourt of Drummond, forwards Greg Monroe and Josh Smith and guards Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who routinely drove into the lane at will, the Cavs were gashed inside, allowing 30 points in the paint in the first half and 58 for the game. Smith had 20 points heading into halftime, his season high for any half this season. He finished with 25.
Led by Smith and Brandon Jennings’ 21 points and 13 assists, the Pistons had seven players reach double figures in scoring. As a team, they shot 48 percent from the field and were 10-of-24 (41 percent) from 3-point range.
Forward Tristan Thompson (17 points, six rebounds) said the Cavaliers didn’t follow Brown’s game plan on defense, which was to be physical in the lane.
“Coach told us what we needed to do. When you don’t do what Coach says or the way that he feels is the way to win, we’re gonna get our butt handed to us,” Thompson said, who also agreed with Brown that the sense of urgency has been lacking recently.
There weren’t many positive offensive numbers in the Cavs’ box score, either.
The Cavaliers shot 38 percent from the field as a team but just 27 percent in the first half. They attempted 28 3-pointers and hit only eight of them (28 percent). Center Andrew Bynum was 0-for-11 from the floor for zero points in 22 minutes. Bynum, guard C.J. Miles, forward Earl Clark and guard Jarrett Jack combined to shoot 4-for-36 for the game.
“The one thing we didn’t do was we didn’t attack the rim,” Brown said. “We settled. Even when we missed shots, we still settled. That part is disturbing.”
Kyrie Irving, Matthew Dellavedova and Thompson were the lone bright spots Monday night. Irving had nearly half of the Cavs’ first-half points (19) but finished with only 21 to go along with seven assists. Dellavedova scored the Cavs’ first five points of the second quarter to keep the game within reach for a bit longer. He ended up with 10 points and six assists. Aside from Irving and Dellavedova, the Cavs were 5-of-35 shooting in the first half.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavaliers blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.