Cleveland, OH – Led by a career-high 29 points from Andre Drummond the Detroit Pistons earned a season sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night with a 111-104 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
Drummond, who was taken ninth overall in last year's NBA Draft, finished on 10-of-11 shots from the floor and also collected 11 rebounds for the Pistons who have won all four matchups in a season with Cleveland for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
"The great thing about Andre is he struggled in the first half and was able to bounce back. I thought his energy was great to start that third quarter. And to me, it's all about rim protection. That's his huge advantage," Detroit head coach Lawrence Frank said.
Greg Monroe added 23 points and eight rebounds, Rodney Stuckey dropped in 18 points to go with seven assists and Will Bynum netted 16 off the bench as well for Detroit. The Pistons have won back-to-back games after dropping eight straight.
Kyrie Irving had 27 points and nine assists but missed a crucial free-throw in the final minute for the Cavaliers. Tristan Thompson recorded 19 points and eight rebounds and Dion Waiters, taken five spots ahead of Drummond in last year's draft, tallied 11 off the bench.
The Cavaliers have now lost three-straight games and are just 14-25 at home on the campaign.
Neither team was able to earn much of an edge in the first quarter with both teams having leads of as many as four points. A driving layup from Monroe in the final minute of the period allowed the Pistons to take a 28-24 lead into the second quarter.
Monroe and Drummond combined for 16 points in the frame while Thompson kept the Cavaliers alive with 11 points and seven rebounds which matched the total collected by Detroit.
Cleveland began to pull away midway through the second quarter with a 13-2 run highlighted by a backdoor pass from Shaun Livingston for an easy dunk for Kevin Jones. The Cavaliers led 43-34 after the run.
Stuckey stroked a pair of 3-pointers to begin a 19-6 run, which he also finished with a fall away jumper with less than a second left in the quarter, as the Pistons rallied to take a 53-49 lead into the break. Cleveland missed its last five field goal attempts in the half.
After scoring six points while taking more of a facilitating role (seven assists) in the first half, Irving dropped in 10 points in the third quarter as the Cavaliers shot 57.9 percent from the floor to take a 75-74 lead into the final period.
The Pistons had led, 72-61, with 3:44 to play in the period but the Cavaliers locked down on defense and went on a 14-2 run in the final three minutes of the third.
The contest remained close for much of the fourth quarter with Detroit flipping a three point deficit into an 89-85 lead with 6:20 remaining on a third-straight jumper from Bynum.
The Cavaliers would then begin intentionally fouling Drummond, who shoots below 40 percent from the free-throw line, at that point. Drummond would hit 8-of-14 from the free-throw line over the next four minutes to keep the Pistons ahead 101-99.
"I figured if we had a nice tight game and they were playing pretty well offensively, we would try and mix it up," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said of the strategy of fouling Drummond, "We would throw a little bit of a wrinkle at him and hope that he would shoot his percentage."
Drummond then took a charge from Thompson with 1:45 remaining and tipped in a missed shot from Monroe on the other end. Consecutive layups from Thompson and Irving knotted the game at 103-103 with 44 seconds to play but Monroe responded with a shot in the paint himself.
On their next possession Irving missed a 3-point attempt with 21.9 seconds to play and after collecting the rebound the Pistons would knock down 6-of-8 free throws in the last 20 seconds to hold on for the win.
Bynum scored 12 points in the fourth quarter marking the eighth time this season he has scored in double figures in the final period...The Pistons are 11-29 on the road this season...Cleveland had a 49-33 edge in rebounds... Detroit had 16 more free-throw attempts than Cleveland and seven fewer turnovers.