Greg Monroe dribbled out from near his own basket all the way into the frontcourt. Then the 6-foot-11 center made a nice pass to Brandon Knight, who dunked the ball at the buzzer.
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On this night, it really was that easy for the Detroit Pistons.
”Sometimes, there are just crazy nights like that,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. ”Everything you shoot goes in. For them, everything they shoot doesn’t. We’ve all been there.”
Knight had 28 points and seven assists, and the Pistons routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-77 on Tuesday night in one of the NBA’s most lopsided games of the season. Tayshaun Prince added 15 points for Detroit and Jonas Jerebko scored 14.
The Pistons led 61-38 at halftime and scored the first 16 points of the third quarter. Knight’s dunk made it 100-50 after three.
”That’s one of the worst games we’ve played in a long, long time. The Pistons played at least 10 times harder than we did,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. ”We’ve got another game tomorrow, and I told them that we must have a better effort than this.”
The Cavaliers were without rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, who was out with a right shoulder problem and hasn’t played since April 3. Irving could return Wednesday night against Philadelphia. Cleveland forward Alonzo Gee was a late scratch Tuesday because of a left ankle sprain.
It was easily Detroit’s most lopsided victory of the season, and the only real suspense in the fourth quarter was whether the Pistons could match or exceed the biggest blowout in the entire league this season. According to STATS, LLC, the mark is Portland’s 112-68 victory over Charlotte on Feb. 1.
Detroit led 116-68 before Cleveland’s Manny Harris made a 3-pointer, Lester Hudson drove for a three-point play and Harris hit another 3.
Harris led the Cavaliers with 18 points.
Detroit shot 60 percent from the field, with Knight going 11 of 12. Monroe had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Jason Maxiell scored 11 points.
”We want to finish strong and we still have a lot of time to continue to get better,” Monroe said. ”We want to win these last games.”
Cleveland entered the game at the bottom of the Central Division, but with only one more loss than Detroit. But the Cavaliers couldn’t have looked more overmatched.
”Even though the season is winding down, we wanted to set the tone for next year and the offseason and continue to build on that,” Knight said.
Maxiell had two early dunks, and the Pistons raced to an 18-5 lead. Detroit led by 11 points after one and shot 12 of 16 in the second quarter, all but wrapping up the game by the time Bell Biv DeVoe came out for a halftime concert.
It got really out of hand in the third quarter. A dunk by Monroe made it 77-38 before Anthony Parker made a 3-pointer for Cleveland’s first points of the half.
Cleveland’s Antawn Jamison scored three points and was 0 for 10 from the field. The Cavaliers were outscored by 47 points with him on the court.
”Trust me, I’m trying to figure out what happened myself,” Jamison said. ”I just know that I’m not going to be watching SportsCenter or reading any newspapers for the next couple days.”
Notes: The Pistons shot 18 of 20 from the free throw line. … The Cavaliers made 27 field goals and turned the ball over 19 times. … Irving was shooting around on the court before the game. ”It feels pretty good,” Irving said of his shoulder. ”I’ve had a lot of days of rest.”