Basketball: Pistons power past flat cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) dribbles against Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) in the third quarter at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) dribbles against Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) in the third quarter at the Quicken Loans Arena. PHOTO: REUTERS

Lethargic James no help as Detroit break losing streak; Warriors notch 50th victory

CLEVELAND • The Detroit Pistons went so long between victories in this National Basketball Association (NBA) season, they were starting to forget what winning felt like.

Now they join champions Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls as the only three teams in the league to score multiple victories against the Eastern Conference- leading Cleveland Cavaliers this season.

Guard Reggie Jackson scored 23 points, and centre Andre Drummond had 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Pistons' 96-88 win on Monday that ended their five-game losing streak.

Since that skid spanned the All-Star break, it marked Detroit's first victory since Feb 4.

"It had been a long time since we got a win," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It feels good to get it, but it's also the best we've played since the Golden State game."

GREAT JOB

It had been a long time since we got a win. It feels good to get it.

STAN VAN GUNDY, Pistons coach, on ending their five-game losing streak.

The Pistons beat the Warriors by 18 points at home last month, but they are just 6-11 since.

One night after New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis scored 59 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against them, the Pistons (28-29) harassed Cleveland forward LeBron James into one of his toughest nights of the season.

James matched his season-low with 12 points and committed six turnovers as the Cavs' five-game winning streak ended.

LOUSY DISPLAY

We lacked energy, starting with myself, all the way down to everybody else.

LEBRON JAMES, after scoring a season-low 12 points in the Cavs' loss to the Pistons.

Cleveland (40-15) played one of their finest games of the season on Sunday to hand the Oklahoma City Thunder their worst loss, then followed it up 24 hours later with a lethargic performance.

"We lacked energy, starting with myself, all the way down to everybody else," James said.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue debated resting the superstar after he exerted so much energy in Sunday's win, but elected to play him.

James did not reach double figures until sinking a pair of free throws with 6min 50sec left in the game, narrowly extending his streak to 695 consecutive games scoring in double figures.

"I should have (gone) with my gut," Lue said, "but I didn't do it."

Cavs forward Kevin Love scored 24 points, including 14 in the first quarter.

Guard Kyrie Irving netted 30 points after missing most of Sunday's game with what the team said were flu-like symptoms but what Irving said was caused by bed bugs.

In Atlanta, the Warriors notched their 50th win of the season in record-setting style, thwarting a Hawks rally to triumph 102-92.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry scored 36 points for the Warriors, who wasted a 23-point third-quarter lead but held on to grab win No. 50 in their 55th game of the season.

That eclipsed the record of 56 games needed by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls title-winning outfit to reach 50 wins - another encouraging sign for a Warriors team bent on beating the record 72-10 regular- season mark put up by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls.

The Warriors have also added reinforcement in back-up centre Anderson Varejao, signed on Monday from the Cavaliers.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2016, with the headline 'PISTONS POWER PAST FLAT CAVS'. Print Edition | Subscribe