Charlie Villanueva reached a boiling point during a fight with Ryan Hollins.
But that was just an opening act to the apparent meltdown that followed.
Villanueva and Hollins were ejected following a fourth-quarter scuffle that nearly escalated into a fight, and the Cavaliers went on to beat the Pistons 110-101.
"You've got to be careful with the quiet ones, right?" Villanueva said after the game. "At the end of the day, that's something that happened on the court. It should stay on the court. I overreacted. He said some things that kind of got me upset."
Villanueva said Hollins had thrown an elbow before the two squared off with 5:47 left in the fourth quarter. After they were separated, Villanueva came running from the Detroit bench area while teammate Rodney Stuckey, a security officer and an assistant coach tried to restrain him.
He ended up running down the wrong tunnel, and Hollins stayed on court until Villanueva left.
"There are going to be a lot of fines, I know that. Not to me, though," Cleveland's J.J. Hickson said. "That was my first time breaking up a fight, and I thought I did a pretty good job. I took one for the team, and I think it got us going."
The scene didn't quite escalate to the level of the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl of 2004, but Villanueva later came out of the Pistons' locker room and sprinted toward Cleveland's locker room. He was stopped by police on a loading dock. Hollins was taken immediately to the team bus.
"I shouldn't have let my emotions get the best of me, but it was a heat-of-the-moment thing," Villanueva said.
Villanueva got into a war of words earlier this season with the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett. Villanueva accused Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient." Garnett refuted the accusations, saying he only said Villanueva was a "cancer to your team and our league."
The Pistons (29-52) are finishing up a miserable season, and they didn't play their best Monday — even with owner-in-waiting Tom Gores in the crowd. Gores reached an agreement last week to buy the Pistons.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.