Short-handed Cavs shut down by Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Andre Drummond was drafted to shore up Detroit’s interior defense — and the Cleveland Cavaliers found out just how active the young big man can be around the basket.
Drummond had seven points, 12 rebounds and three blocks Monday night as the Pistons won their fifth straight home game, 89-79 over Cleveland. Brandon Knight scored 17 points and Kyle Singler and Tayshaun Prince added 15 apiece for Detroit.
The Pistons blocked 13 shots, their most since also reaching that number against Philadelphia on April 15, 2007.
“I think being in position, first,” coach Lawrence Frank said. “If you’re in position, then you can get a block, a charge, a deflection. If you’re out of position, you can’t even put yourself even in position to block a shot.”
Detroit is 1-10 on the road but 5-3 at home, and the Pistons have recovered a bit after losing their first eight games of the season. They beat Phoenix by 40 last week in their previous home game, and the victory over Cleveland wasn’t really as close as the score indicated.
Detroit led 56-39 at halftime after holding the Cavaliers to 29 percent shooting. Cleveland shot 34 percent for the game.
Cleveland was without guard Dion Waiters, who sat out with a sprained left ankle. Anderson Varejao had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Cavs.
“We let them have at least seven uncontested shots early in the game, but after the first quarter, I thought we got more aggressive on defense and we started getting after their shots,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “We got back into the game, but we never got anything going on offense.”
The Cavaliers had scored 113 and 117 points in their previous two games, but the Pistons shut them down for the most part. Drummond, a first-round pick this year, set the tone along with Jason Maxiell. The Cavs struggled to convert around the basket, and they went 3 of 20 from 3-point range.
Maxiell, who is listed at 6-foot-7, had 12 points, six rebounds and five blocks.
“He may be 6-5, 6-6. He calls himself 6-8, but he plays like he’s 7 feet,” Drummond said. “He plays as hard as he can every single play.”
A dunk by Maxiell put the Pistons ahead 14-4, and it was 30-17 after the first quarter.
Rodney Stuckey’s layup off a nice pass from Knight made it 49-27, and although Cleveland chipped away at the deficit, Stuckey’s floater to end the third quarter made it 75-63.
In the fourth, Drummond grabbed an offensive rebound, flipped a pass to Charlie Villanueva for a dunk and then skipped gleefully back down the court.
The Cavs cut it to six on two free throws by Varejao with 1:54 remaining, but they didn’t score again.
“In the second half we did not fold when we had a chance to,” Scott said. “We kept fighting but we just did not have enough offensive firepower to get the job done.”
Varejao has nine straight double-doubles and at least 15 rebounds in each of those games. Cleveland had 33 second-chance points in Saturday’s 118-117 loss to Portland, but only 14 against the Pistons.
Varejao was in the locker room after the game, but reporters were not permitted to approach him.
Greg Monroe had nine points and 14 rebounds for Detroit.
“Letting teams know it’s going to be tough to get a win at the Palace — that’s the type of mentality we want to have,” Knight said. “We also want to take that mentality with us on the road.”
NOTES: Maxiell surpassed 2,000 rebounds for his career. He’s now at 2,001. … Jeremy Pargo, Omri Casspi and Tristan Thompson had 10 points each for the Cavs.