Knight scores 30; Pistons beat Cavs
CLEVELAND (AP) — Brandon Knight made sure the Detroit Pistons got a needed road win.
Knight scored a career-high 30 points and the Pistons defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in six days with a 104-97 win on Saturday night.
The Pistons, who won for just the second time in 12 road games this season, took control with a run that began late in the third quarter and carried into the fourth period.
Besides winning on the road, Pistons coach Lawrence Frank was pleased to see his team rebound from Friday night’s home loss to Chicago in which Detroit squandered a 17-point lead in the first half.
“It’s great to bounce back from last night,” he said. “We were able to hold on and get a good win on the road.”
Tayshaun Prince scored 14 points while Jason Maxiell added 11 for the Pistons, who defeated the Cavaliers 89-79 on Monday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Jeremy Pargo scored 24 points for Cleveland, which has lost five straight, nine of 10 and 15 of 17.
Knight scored 23 points in the second half, including 13 in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer late in the third period gave Detroit the lead for good, 71-68.
“It was just me taking more advantage of the shots I did have,” Knight said. “They did a great job contesting my shots in the first half — not that they didn’t in the second — but I was more aggressive doing my job.”
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, who scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds, went to the locker room late in the second quarter with a bruised left elbow. X-rays were negative and he returned to begin the third quarter with the elbow wrapped.
Cleveland again played without leading scorers Kyrie Irving (broken left index finger) and Dion Waiters (sprained left ankle).
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said there’s a chance one or both could return for Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, but neither player has been cleared by doctors. The latest loss had Scott repeating a point he’s made several times recently.
“We almost have to play near perfect,” he said. “We’re going to make mistakes on both ends of the floor, but our guys are competing. That’s all I can ask for.”
“I don’t want guys to start waiting for Kyrie and Dion to come back,” guard Daniel Gibson said. “Yeah, we’re down a closer or two, but we’ve had opportunities to win these games.”
Trailing 62-54 late in the third quarter, Detroit grabbed the momentum and the Pistons took a 76-70 lead into the fourth quarter.
Charlie Villanueva hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Pistons take a 14-point lead early in the fourth. The Cavaliers cut the lead to 99-95 on Varejao’s free throw with 40.1 seconds left, but Rodney Stuckey’s basket with 18.3 seconds left gave the Pistons a six-point lead.
“We knew the Cavs would come out fighting because they’re trying to tough it out without two of their main guys,” Prince said. “It was good to get a road win, but it’s also good that we played tonight because we had a couple of heartbreakers that we needed to get over.”
Cleveland used a 24-7 run in the second quarter to take a 46-36 lead, but Detroit rallied and trailed 52-49 at halftime. The Pistons went ahead 54-52, but the Cavaliers scored 10 straight points for a 62-54 lead.
Stuckey and Maxiell each scored 10 points for Detroit, which committed only nine turnovers.
C.J. Miles scored 15 points while Tyler Zeller added 13 for Cleveland. Varejao’s streak of consecutive double-doubles ended at 10 Friday against Minnesota when he had four points and 14 rebounds.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert defended his team on his Twitter account Saturday, writing “18 months into rebuild. Short trm get our 2 scorers back playing.”
NOTES: The Pistons play at Philadelphia on Monday, the site of their only road win prior to Saturday . … Frank was one of Scott’s assistants with the New Jersey Nets. “I worked for him for three years, so I know that his teams are always prepared,” Frank said. “They also tend to take on some of Byron’s personality, being tough-minded groups that never make excuses.” … Cleveland scored 22 points in the first quarter after 14.7 in the first period in its previous three games. … The Cavaliers begin a stretch of four games in five nights Tuesday.