Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey after his team's 129-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, March 2, in Cleveland. The Detroit News
Cleveland — It wasn’t a tale of two halves or even a tale of two quarters. It was more like a tale of one quarter — if even that.
The Pistons got hot in the first period and after taking a 19-point lead entering the second, extended the margin — and rolled to an easy 129-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday evening at Quicken Loans Arena.
It’s the largest margin of victory for the Pistons this season and got them back on the winning track, after they fell to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
The victory also inched them closer to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, after the Brooklyn Nets lost at Miami. The Nets are percentage points ahead of the Pistons, who have won eight of their last 10 games.
Luke Kennard had 26 points, including six 3-pointers, and Reggie Jackson had 24 points (on 9-of-11 shooting) in 21 minutes for the Pistons (30-31), who complete the back-to-back against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena.
The Pistons (30-31) had to take care of their business against the struggling Cavs — and they did it in a professional manner, not letting their foot off the pedal.
“We just put together a really solid game, offensively and defensively. The ball was moving and we played the right brand of basketball,” said Blake Griffin, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in 26 minutes. “We’ve been on a much better streak and played basketball the right way.”
Wayne Ellington added 15 points — all on 3-pointers — and Andre Drummond 13 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.
The Cavaliers (15-48) got 16 points from rookie Collin Sexton and 11 each from Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. They were playing without big men Kevin Love, Ante Zizic, Tristan Thompson and John Henson.
“We’re building something in our culture and identity and how we want to play. If we came out and were half-stepping, it would have been a different story,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Our guys came out with a professional approach and the right amount of respect for how this team has been playing. We got accomplished what we wanted to do.”
The Pistons had a 42-23 lead after the first quarter — their highest-scoring opening period of the season — and boosted it to 71-38 at halftime, behind 16 points from Jackson, 12 from Kennard and 11 from Drummond.
Kennard got hot in the fourth quarter, hitting four straight 3-pointers, including the final one from near the logo at midcourt, a shot that pushed the lead to 115-81 and highlighted the offensive onslaught, as the Pistons shot 54 percent from the field and tied their season high with 20 3-pointers.
“It feels good but we played good basketball tonight and got great shots,” Kennard said. “Guys make great plays and we moved the ball. It felt good. The one (3-pointer) was deep and I’m surprised it went in.”