Turnovers doom Pistons in 122-107 loss to Cavaliers

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
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The drive for a winning streak is going to have to wait.

Through the first quarter of the season, the Pistons hadn’t won back-to-back games and after Monday’s victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, they were in position in the midst of a string of five games in seven days.

The Pistons ran into a very good Cleveland Cavaliers team that’s been playing well.

No streak, this time.

The Pistons couldn’t overcome a flurry of turnovers and their sloppy play led to a 122-107 loss to the Cavs on Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

Jerami Grant had 26 points, his 16th game this season with at least 20 points, Wayne Ellington 17 points and Mason Plumlee 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Pistons (4-14), who have a big game Thursday, hosting the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pistons closed with 90-82 at the end of the third quarter, but they stayed close after a quick start by the Cavaliers (9-9). Cleveland pulled away with a jumper by Jarrett Allen (10 points), a drive by Collin Sexton (29 points, five rebounds and five assists) and a 3-pointer by Dylan Windler, part of an 11-1 run that helped decide the game.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Andre Drummond (3) drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons' Mason Plumlee (24) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Cleveland.

The Pistons committed 22 turnovers and gave up 30 points off those miscues and the Cavs were able to get in transition quickly and take advantage of the numbers. In the first meeting this season, they had 24 turnovers.

“We got 29 assists and 22 turnovers — that’s a bad recipe,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We just need to come down and get a shot. It’s a phenomenon. Against Philadelphia, we played this beautiful basketball and tonight, we played like we had never worked with each other.”

The sloppy play led to some easy opportunities for the Cavaliers and Casey pointed to some bad passing angles and poor fundamentals that led to the turnovers. Plumlee had eight of the turnovers and Jackson and Grant had three apiece.

The Cavaliers were opportunistic and turned some of those into 16 fast-break points.

“That’s definitely on us; we turned the ball over way too much. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” Grant said. “I don’t think they were forced; those were on us.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Pistons made a run, with eight straight points. Ellington hit his fourth 3-pointer and Grant made two free throws and then three more after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

That closed the deficit to 108-97 with 5:20 left, but the Cavaliers got a boost from Andre Drummond (23 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and two blocks) who scored on a dunk and then split a pair of free throws to get the lead back to double digits. Taurean Prince (16 points, seven rebounds and five assists) added a dunk and the Cavs finished the 8-0 run that put the game away in the final minutes.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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