The Pistons are last in the division -- three games behind the Cavs -- and posted their third win in a row with Sunday's 96-81 triumph versus the Boston Celtics. Greg Monroe led five Pistons in double figures with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Rodney Stuckey chipped in 16 points for Detroit, which has won seven of nine games and can match a season high with their fourth straight win tonight. The Pistons just ripped off four consecutive wins from Feb. 3-10 and defeated Boston in Beantown last Wednesday.
"We played a very good game. ... We were better tonight," said Pistons head coach Lawrence, whose squad scored 40 points off 24 turnovers. "We're far from being a finished product."
Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko each netted 13 points. Detroit took advantage inside with the absence of Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett, who did not play because of personal reasons. Brandon Knight rounded out Detroit's double digit scorers with 12 points.
Ever since Jason Maxiell was inserted into the starting lineup 10 games ago, Detroit is 7-3. Maxiell posted six points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in the latest triumph. Monroe is averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds this month (10 games) and Prince has averages of 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in his last five. In the last nine games, Stuckey is averaging 18.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.67 steals.
The Pistons are averaging 96.1 points in February after averaging 85.7 points in December and January combined. They will also visit Toronto on the quick road trip and sport a 3-12 ledger away from The Palace this season.
Cleveland will resume a team-record nine-game homestand Tuesday and improved to 3-3 on the residency with Sunday's 93-92 win versus Sacramento.
Rookie Kyrie Irving made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left and finished with 23 points for the Cavaliers, who are 7-8 as the host and also got 21 points and eight rebounds out of Antawn Jamison. Tristan Thompson had his first-career double-double with 15 points and 12 boards.
"There was a little bit of pressure, but I was prepared for it," a confident Irving said of his trip to the line in crunch time.
Irving will play in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend and is also expected to participate in the Skills Challenge. He is averaging 18.3 points per game, which is the most of any rookie this year. His 4.8 assists per game average is the second most among rookies. Cleveland will also host the Hornets and Celtics during the homestand.
Over his last nine games, Jamison is averaging 20.9 points and 8.6 rebounds.
Cleveland took the first meeting with Detroit, 105-89, on Dec. 28 at The Palace of Auburn Hills and has won three straight and 10 of the past 12 matchups between the clubs. Detroit has lost five of six and six of its last eight at the Quicken Loans Arena.