Late Rally Leads to Fourth Straight Win
Wrap-Up – Cleveland had dropped seven straight to the Pistons and trailed through the first 46 minutes on Wednesday night in Motown. But you get the sense that this is a different Cavaliers club – and once they took the lead on Kyrie Irving’s free throw with 2:06 to play, there was no getting between the Wine and Gold and their first four-game win streak in four years.
Irving would can four more free throws and a huge three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer as the Cavaliers won their fourth straight – 93-89 – in the final game before the All-Star Break.
The Cavs Class of 2011 came up huge in the final period, with Irving and Tristan Thompson combining for 25 of the Cavaliers’ 34 points. Thompson was almost unstoppable in the paint – going 7-of-8 from the floor in the fourth and finishing with game-highs in points (25) and rebounds (15). Kyrie notched 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, adding five boards, four assists and a game-high three steals.
Thompson and Irving were the only Cavaliers to tally double-figures, but once again, the Cavs got contributions from everywhere. Jarrett Jack led everyone with eight assists, Tyler Zeller scored six straight points in a key third-quarter stretch and Earl Clark made some key defensive plays in the fourth. Every player who dressed – (aside from rookie Sergey Karasev, who was just called up from Canton on Wednesday) – saw time in Wednesday’s win.
Turning Point – Detroit kept the Cavaliers at arm’s length through three-and-a-half quarters, snuffing every run Cleveland put together. The Pistons were up double-digits – 76-66 – early in the fourth period, but Tristan Thompson keyed a 14-4 Cavaliers run to tie the game with 3:39 to play. Seconds later, Kyrie’s free throws gave Cleveland its first lead. Josh Smith gave the Pistons the lead with a dunk on the next possession, but Tristan’s dunk put the Cavs ahead to stay, with Kyrie’s bomb with 27.2 to play sealing the deal.
Game Ball – Tristan Thompson – Through the first quarter, it looked like it’d be a long night for Thompson and the Cavaliers in the paint, with Greg Monroe netting 11 points in the period. But Tristan continued his blue-collar work and by the fourth, Detroit’s bigs simply couldn’t handle him. On the night, the third-year forward went 12-for-16 from the floor, grabbing six of his 15 boards off the offensive glass and recording his team-leading 24th double-double.
By the Numbers – 1421 … Days since the last time the Cavaliers recorded a four-game win streak. The Cavaliers also snapped Detroit’s three-game win streak, its five-game home win streak and seven-game streak against Cleveland.
Quotable – Luol Deng, on Wednesday’s win in Detroit …
”We're going to get a point where guys understand you just have to find a way to win. I think when we get to that point, we'll have more wins like this. Guys are starting to enjoy this and are looking forward to the next game. That's what happens when you win.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers ride their heater into the All-Star Break, where Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters will show their wares. Dion will play in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night. Kyrie will defend his Three-Point Shootout title on Saturday night and make the start at point guard for the East squad in the midseason classis on Sunday. When the Wine and Gold return to work next week, they travel to Philly to face the struggling Sixers on Tuesday and welcome the Magic to The Q on night later.