Live Pistons Blog: Pistons fall one shot short in Game 4
Pistons fall one shot short
Kyrie Irving answered KCP's clutch 3-pointer with a cold-blooded one, knocking it down in the face of a defender with 42 seconds left to play to extend the Cavs lead to four at 100-96.
Reggie Jackson answered with a thunderous slam in the lane with 32 seconds left, making it 100-98 and giving the Pistons a chance to play defense without fouling.
The Pistons got a stop and Jackson took the ball up and shot a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer and missed.
The Pistons were that close.
Irving finished with a game-high 31 points.
Marcus Morris led the Pistons with 24, while Tobias Harris followed with 23.
The Pistons did a lot of good things in this series and were in three of the four games right up to the finish. This young team has a mountain to climb, and they'll sure learn a lot about what it takes to close and take those lessons into next season.
Pistons keeping it close in final minute
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down a HUGE 3-pointer and the Pistons have cut the Cavs lead to 97-96 with 53 seconds left to play.
The two teams traded baskets and down by four, the Pistons got a stop. But the theme of this series has been offensive rebounding giving the Cavs opportunity after opportunity to bury the Pistons, and again, that was the case.
Marcus Morris let the ball fall right out of his hands and into those of Kevin Love. The Cavs called a timeout with 1:59 left to play, Kryie Irving took a contested 3-pointer and missed, but again the Pistons couldn't corral the ball and it went out of bounds off of Reggie Jackson. Luckily for the Pistons, LeBron tried to get a little fancy with the spin move, losing the ball while Stanley Johnson jumped on it and called a timeout in a heads-up play, leading to the KCP 3-ball.
Pistons still not ready to cave
The Pistons were getting good looks from beyond the arc, but the shots just aren't falling.
On the other hand, the Pistons play great defense on the other end of the floor and J.R. Smith knocked down a ridiculous fade away 3-pointer with a hand in his face to give the Cavs a nine-point lead.
Finally, Tobias Harris broke the 0-for-6 from 3-point land with a long ball. The Pistons got a stop and Marcus Morris delivered with a tough jumper in the lane to cut the Cavs lead to four, 95-91, with 3:17 left to play.
Pistons trail late in 4th quarter
The Pistons missed 4 open 3-pointers and one silly one taken by Reggie Jackson, who was dribbling too much. Jackson missed two more open ones that were good looks and Tobias Harris couldn't get one to fall after good ball movement by his teammates.
As this game comes down to the bitter end, it's 92-86, Cavs lead, with 6:00 left to play.
Cavs go on a run, but Pistons fight back again
Trailing by five, the Pistons got two stops after giving up an offensive rebound, and Tobias Harris hit a runner in the lane to cut the Cleveland lead to 86-83 with 9:04 left to play.
The Pistons had tied the game with three seconds left to play in the third quarter, but Kyrie Irving's 3-point heave sparked an 8-0 Cleveland run that immediately erased the good vibes the Pistons had built over an eight-minute stretch entering the fourth quarter.
Andre Drummond got a bucket at the rim to cut the lead to six. He was fouled on the basket, but missed the free throw so badly that it bounced right into the arms of Tobias Harris, earning the Pistons an extra possession. Low and behold, Drummond ended up back at the line, knocking down both, but having one taken away on a Stanley Johnson lane violation.
Pistons fight back, have one last chance to save season
Kyrie Irving started the third quarter by scoring 10 points in four minutes. He finished it with a swish from half-court as the buzzer sounded.
Nevertheless, the Pistons fell behind by 11 to start the quarter, but they bounced back, picking up what was a sluggish pace, playing some defense and running good offensive sets.
After three quarters, with their season on the line, the Pistons trail the Cavs, 81-78.
The Pistons outscored the Cavs, 22-14, over the last eight minutes of the frame.
Marcus Morris (22 points) and Andre Drummond (13) led the charge.
The defensive intensity definitely picked up when it looked like the Pistons season might be hanging by a thread thanks to a strong start to the second half by Irving (24 points).
The Pistons now have 12 minutes to save their season and force a Game 5 Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Don't bury the Pistons yet...
When you're trying to climb a mountain, turnovers and ugly shots are not your friend.
The Pistons have found a way to overcome some questionable decision-making and continue to hang around in this game, trailing 72-66, with 4:18 to play in the third quarter.
Trailing by seven, having just scored the last four points and gotten a couple stops, Reggie Jackson threw the ball away, resulting in an easy dunk on the other end.
On the next possession, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who hadn't scored all night, threw up a terribly contested shot in the lane while falling away from the basket (early in the shot clock, no less).
Luckily for the Pistons, KCP hit a 3-ball on the next possession and Stanley Johnson hit just his second field goal of the night, knocking one down from beyond the arc, to trim the Cleveland lead.
Irving lighting it up
Kyrie Irving put up 10 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter and Cleveland pushed its lead to double digits at 67-56.
Irving has shown an ability to bury the Pistons in this series. If there's one guy to key on, it has to be the Cavs' stud point guard. Irving has a team-high 21 points.
As of this post, the Pistons trail, 67-58, with 7:29 to play in the third.
Quick start to 2nd half for the Cavs
LeBron took and made a tough fadeaway for the first points of the half, showing that he's going to stay aggressive and try to be the driving the force behind the Cleveland offensive attack.
The Cavs have opened the second half on a 9-2 run, taking a 62-54 lead with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter.
It's danger time for the Pistons.
Pistons show fight, trail by a point at the half
For the fourth consecutive game, the Pistons and Cavs gave the fans an entertaining first half of basketball.
Marcus Morris and LeBron James carried the load for their teams on the offensive end, and at the half, Cleveland leads, 53-52.
Morris had himself a big second quarter, going for 12 points on his way to a game-high 18.
James led Cleveland with 16 points and four assists.
The Pistons, yet again, have matched the energy of the Cavs for 24 minutes. They have to avoid a big Cleveland run in the third quarter. The Cavs have shown no signs of taking their foot off the gas in this series. The Pistons are going to have to earn this one.
J.R. Smith (12 points) is 4-for-5 from beyond the arc for Cleveland.
Tobias Harris has 10 for Detroit, but he didn't score in the second quarter.
A big point of emphasis for the Pistons coming into tonight was hitting the glass. They've done that, outrebounding the Cavs, 24-23.
Morris keeps Pistons close
Marcus Morris hit two 3-pointers to start the game and wasn't heard from again for the rest of the first quarter. Well, he's poked his head back up again and has seven second quarter points that have kept the Pistons close with mostly reserves in the game.
Morris now has a game-high 13 points.
LeBron James is not taking his foot off the gas, however. He has 11 and the Cavs lead, 39-37, with 5:46 to play until halftime.
Cleveland takes slim lead
During this series, LeBron James has typically taken a breath on the bench near the end of the first quarter, coming back into the game to start the second when the Pistons usually have three or four reserves in the game.
That's the case right now. LeBron has a monster dunk and the ghost of Richard Jefferson has five quick points over the last minute.
It's 32-31, Cavs lead, with 8:51 to play until halftime.
Marcus Morris has a free throw and a bucket for the Pistons in the second quarter. He's got nine points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field.
Harris leads the charge for Pistons in 1st
Tobias Harris has largely been a non-factor through the first three games of this series. That has not been the case tonight. Harris has been a man on a mission, driving aggressively, crashing the glass, and carrying the Pistons through the first quarter with 10 points and six rebounds.
The Pistons lead, 28-25, after the opening frame.
With Andre Drummond on the bench, Kevin Love has done a nice job controlling the glass on the defensive end for Cleveland. He's got eight boards to go with six points.
The energy level has been great, thus far. The Pistons and Cavs continue to produce an exciting brand of basketball, especially for a series that is 3-0. The Pistons will have to continue to attack because Cleveland is playing like they have no interest in a Game 5 on Tuesday.
Cavs assertiveness brings them back
The streaky J.R. Smith has two early 3-pointer for Cleveland, sparking the Cavs to a 14-5 run midway through the first quarter.
As of this post, it's 17-17, at the 4:54 mark.
LeBron James has been aggressive getting to the rim, and part of the reason he can do that is because of Andre Drummond's early foul trouble. James is playing well with five points and two assists.
Tobias Harris has shown a little more pep in his step than he has most of this series with four points and four rebounds in the early going.
Drummond to the bench
The Pistons are off to a good start, but those good vibes are marred a little by Andre Drummond's two early fouls.
Aron Baynes is in the game and the Pistons are leading, 12-7, with 7:11 to play in the first quarter.
Quick start for the Pistons
Marcus Morris has two early 3-pointers, Andre Drummond has two buckets and the Pistons have forced the Cavs to call an early timeout after they fired the crowd up with a 10-2 start to Game 4 with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter.
Morris got the Pistons on the board first with a 3-pointer from the wing. LeBron James answered with a strong drive to the rim, finishing in traffic for the Cavs' first bucket.
Cleveland is 1-for-5 from the floor. The Pistons are 4-for-5.
Do-or-die tonight at The Palace
The Pistons have lost 11 consecutive games to the Cleveland Cavaliers dating back to when the 2007 squad had a 2-0 series lead before allowing LeBron James and his cronies to win four straight.
While this version of the Pistons had nothing to do with 2007 and the 2009 first round sweep at the hands of Cleveland, it's a streak they surely would like to end tonight in front of what is sure to be another raucous crowd at The Palace.
The Pistons have to get off to a good start, something that hasn't been a problem in this series. What has been a problem is rebounding. Andre Drummond hasn't rebounded well, and his teammates look like they are more interested in just watching the ball than chasing after a missed Cavs shot.
While their chances of winning this series are next to impossible, this young team can show some pride and give themselves something to build off of for next season. One game at a time. That's the only way to approach tonight. The Pistons have done plenty of good things in this series. Tonight, they have to close.