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The Detroit Pistons are moving on after the trade that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies. After two straight blow out losses to Milwaukee and Indiana, the Cleveland Cavaliers were just what the Pistons needed.
Brandon Knight started the game right for Detroit. Knight whipped a pass to Greg Monroe for a layup. Then he dropped a pass off of a pick and pop to Jason Maxiell for a jumper. Knight then threw a long, half court pass to Kyle Singler for a 6-0 lead. Knight then got in the scoring column with a layup off a Maxiell dish. Knight made his four shots and finished with eight points and five assists in the quarter and Detroit had a 24-16 lead after one.
The second quarter was led by the bench brigade, which Charlie Villanueva nicknamed earlier in the season as “The Extremely Angry Young Men”, Villanueva first dropped a pass to Andre Drummond for a dunk. Villanueva then knocked down a 3 off a Kim English pass. Villanueva then blocked Mareese Speights’ jumper and Will Bynum threw an alley-oop to Drummond for a 31-24 lead with 9:31 to go in the second.
Villanueva then started attacking the rim. He took a pass from Bynum, drove and dropped in a floater and on the next possession made a driving layup. Bynum would late find a cutting Jonas Jerebko for a layup, Bynum drove in and a got a layup to drop and Detroit led 40-33 lead.
After a Wayne Ellington 3 cut it to 40-36 Pistons lead, Detroit scored seven straight points. Bynum started it with a free throw, followed by a Monroe layup, a Knight drive to the hoop, and Rodney Stuckey took a pass from Monroe and finished at the rim for a 47-36 lead. Knight later hit a 3 and Stuckey had a jumper in the paint before Speights hit a 3 at the buzzer for Cleveland and the Pistons had a 54-47 lead at the half.
In the third, Stuckey scored 10 straight points for Detroit. He hit a jumper, he then had an alley-oop off a pass from Monroe, then after two free throws, then he had a bank shot after taking Cleveland rookie Dion Waiters in the post, and he finished it with two free throws. Knight followed Stuckey’s 10 points with a 3 that triggered a 7-0 run. Monroe then took a pass from Knight and hit a jump shot for an 81-64 lead. Knight would add a pull up jumper and the Pistons had an 85-68 after three.
After Singler knocked down a 3-pointer off a Bynum pass for a 97-82 lead, Cleveland then resorted to the “Hack-a-Dre” and Drummond couldn’t hit the free throws. Coach Lawrence Frank then brought in Villanueva. The Cavs then went to “Hack-a-Charlie”. Villanueva, a 29.4 percent free throw shooter on the year, would finish 3-for-8 at the line.
Cleveland took advantage of the bad free throw shooting and went on an 8-2 run. Kevin Jones had a dunk, followed by an Ellington 3 and free throws, and C.J. Miles hit a 3 for the Cavaliers to bring the Cavs to within 99-90 with 4:41 to go.
Knight threw an alley-oop pass to Singler for a 103-90 lead. Ellington would hit a 3 to make it 103-93 but the Pistons would finish off the Cavs once and for all. Singler had a layup off a Monroe pass, Monroe had a layup for Knight’s 9th assist, and Monroe would hit a jumper for Knight’s 10th assist and a 110-95 lead with 1:17 to go. Detroit would defeat Cleveland for the 3rd time this season, and 5th straight overall, 117-99.
Knight had 20 and 10 assists, Monroe had 18 and 16 boards, Singler had a career high 20 and eigt rebounds, and Bynum had 11 and eight dimes. Jose Calderon, acquired from Toronto in the Prince deal, was with the team today and sat behind the team’s bench. He’s currently working on a visa issue and once that issue is resolved, then he can get on the court. The team is targeting either Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Lakers or Monday when they head to New York to take on the Knicks.
The Celtics defeated the Magic 97-84 and the 76ers beat the Kings 89-80 so Detroit remained 5.5 back of 8th place Boston and 2.5 back of 9th place Philadelphia.