Pistons stun Cavs to ease out of slump

Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:36pm EST
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AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (The Sports Xchange) - Desperate for a victory, the Detroit Pistons needed to catch a break. Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue delivered that gift a day after Christmas, resting the game's biggest star.

LeBron James got the night off as the Pistons snapped a five-game losing streak by downing the Cavaliers 106-90 on Monday night at The Palace.

James, who played 40 minutes in Cleveland's 109-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, sat in street clothes and watched his team's offense disintegrate. The Cavs shot 38 percent from the field and committed a season-high 22 turnovers.

James was rested in two other games this season after playing a home game the previous night. Cleveland is 23-4 when he is in uniform and 0-3 without him.

"He's probably the best player in the world," Pistons forward Jon Leuer said. "When he's not in there, it's a different feel, for sure. They still have some talented guys with Kyrie (Irving) and Kevin (Love), their shooters and how they space the floor. It still makes it difficult, but LeBron kind of facilitates everything."

Detroit hounded Golden State into 23 turnovers in its previous game, but Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy felt the Cavs' giveaways were mainly due to James' absence.

"I didn't think we forced a lot," he said. "Kyrie's used to making plays, but nobody else on that team really ever has to make a play other than Kyrie or LeBron. Today, (others) had to try to make some plays. They're in unfamiliar territory. These are guys that normally play off those two guys. When there's only one of them, it's a little bit harder."

Pistons forward Tobias Harris scored 21 points while coming off the bench for the second straight game after starting the previous 31. That performance followed up a season-high, 26-point outing against the Warriors.

"It's different," he said. "Obviously, when you come off the bench, you have to use that time on the bench to evaluate the speed of the game, how we're playing, what we're doing well, what we're not doing well. And when you get into the game, you have to try to make that impact from there."   Continued...

Dec 26, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kay Felder (20) dribbles the ball as Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes (12) defends during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports