'We allowed them to get steam': Pistons let lead slip, Cavaliers waltz away with OT victory
Detroit — On Tuesday, the Pistons rallied from a 15-point deficit and pulled out a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on a go-ahead basket in the final minute. They held on in the final seconds to take the win, ending their six-game road trip on a high note.
In Thursday’s rematch, the Pistons had the big lead and let it get away.
Turnabout is fair play.
The Pistons squandered an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and a four-point advantage in overtime, falling in the extra period, 115-112, to the Cavs at Little Caesars Arena.
Andre Drummond had his second consecutive 20-20 game, with 28 points and 23 rebounds, Derrick Rose added 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Bruce Brown 17 points and eight assists for the Pistons (14-25), who had won two of their previous three games.
It was the Pistons’ first overtime game this season and they had a chance to end it before it got there. Rose, who has had the ball in his hands for several late-game opportunities, held for the last shot with the game tied at 102 in the final seconds. Instead of driving, as he’s done most times in those situations, he pulled up for a jumper, which was off the mark.
In the overtime period, Rose had six of the Pistons’ 10 points but looked to be spent after playing a season-high 36 minutes, including all five in overtime.
“I think (he was tired). Believe me, he wanted to play but you could see it, with some of the uncharacteristic turnovers he had,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We had 17 points off turnovers in the second half; we did a great job in the first half taking care of the ball but down the stretch, (only) having that one true point guard really told on us.”
Cavs center Tristan Thompson was unstoppable, scoring a career-high 35 points, along with 14 rebounds and three blocks. Thompson hit the tying free throws with 24.5 seconds left in regulation and had the Cavs’ first and last points in overtime.
Kevin Love (17 points and nine rebounds) had a hook and a 3-pointer during the decisive run and Darius Garland (20 points and seven assists) scored on a drive. Thompson’s dunk punctuated a 9-0 run that turned a four-point Pistons lead into a 115-110 deficit with 16.7 seconds remaining.
Thon Maker scored on a drive with 8.6 seconds remaining in overtime to get the Pistons within three points and Drummond got a steal and passed ahead to Rose, but the shot didn’t fall.
The Pistons looked to have the game in control in the third quarter, with a 12-6 spurt that included eight points from Rose and a basket from Drummond. Svi Mykhailiuk’s lay-in gave the Pistons their largest lead, 75-62, with 5:57 left.
Thompson followed with back-to-back baskets and the Cavs had a frantic finish, with a 10-0 run to end the period, including eight straight points by Garland, to get within 83-81 entering the fourth. The Cavaliers rallied midway through the final period, taking their first lead of the game on back-to-back baskets by Collin Sexton (19 points).
“We just didn’t play the right way in the second half and we allowed them to get a rhythm going,” Drummond said. “They came out and stuck it to us first and instead of what we did in the first quarter, we allowed them to get some steam and they came out with the win.”
Rose, Brown and Drummond answered during a critical 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, with Rose scoring on a floater, Brown on a lay-in, rookie Sekou Doumbouya on a corner 3-pointer and Drummond on a hook off a pass from Brown, making it a 99-91 lead with 4:59 left.
That ended a 6-2 spurt by the Cavs (11-27) that included a hook by Thompson and Sexton’s two baskets.
The Cavs made another run behind Thompson, who scored six points in their 8-0 run over a span of 2:07 and tied it at 100 on a dunk by Thompson. The Pistons answered with a steal by Brown, who passed ahead and Rose finished the lay-in to regain the lead with 1:12 remaining before Thompson’s tying free throws.
“It’s a happy locker room in there. Given Tuesday’s tough loss, where we really felt we didn’t play our best and we needed to play our best and today, we did,” Cavs coach John Beilein said. “I’m really pleased with those guys and it’s a great way to start our road trip. And you can’t say enough about Tristan Thompson with that performance.”
► Doumbouya made his first start at Little Caesars Arena after four straight road starts, but he didn’t get into a good groove because of foul trouble. He got his third foul at 5:38 of the second quarter and had to sit for the rest of the half. Doumbouya picked up his fourth foul 89 seconds into the period and had to sit again.
► Brown looked more comfortable handling the ball, working easily on the pick-and-roll and he was more aggressive going to the basket and drawing fouls. He was only 6-of-14 from the field, but he had six assists also, showing his ability to create opportunities for others. Casey has said Brown’s future could be as a point guard and little by little, he’s showing that may be the case.
► Rose played a season-high 36 minutes, including all five minutes of overtime. Casey seems to have decided not to play Tim Frazier big minutes, so he’s limited to only Rose and Brown as options at point guard. Casey said he wanted to keep Rose’s minutes manageable, but the medical staff seems to be loosening the minutes restrictions.
► As much as Drummond dominated in the paint, Thompson was just as efficient on the other end, going 15-of-20 from the floor and playing 45 minutes. He was effective and when the Pistons didn’t get a body on him, he got in the paint and hurt them, including on seven offensive rebounds.