Cleveland Cavaliers dump Detorit Pistons 126-119 with Pistons' Blake Griffin taking break
By STEVE HERRICK
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers squeaked by without Kevin Love.
The Detroit Pistons, playing without Blake Griffin, weren’t as fortunate.
The Cavaliers made clutch shots down the stretch for a 126-119 win Monday night in a game that featured six ties and five lead changes in the fourth quarter.
Collin Sexton scored 27 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play, and the Cavs defeated a Pistons squad that is fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit coach Dwane Casey, whose team beat Toronto on Sunday, was unhappy following the game, especially with the fact that Cleveland shot 58 percent.
“I’m totally disappointed in myself and our team and everyone in our locker room,” he said. “Our defensive disposition was nil. Nil.”
The Pistons (36-34) are sixth in the East, a game ahead of Brooklyn and 2 1/2 in front of Miami, but their previous visit to Cleveland — when they routed the Cavaliers 129-93 on March 2 — might have played a role in this loss.
“I don’t think we came out with a healthy enough respect for our opponent — and we should have,” Casey said.
Love was out with a sore back for Cleveland after taking a hard fall in Saturday’s loss to Dallas, while Griffin sat out to rest for Detroit.
Andre Drummond nearly made up for Griffin’s absence with 21 points and 21 rebounds, but Detroit’s center was also displeased with the outcome.
“We tip-toed around with them the whole game, and they went out and took advantage of it,” he said.