Playing at the home for the first time since trading Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, the Detroit Pistons (18-29) routed the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-34) Friday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, 117-99.
Brandon Knight had 20 points and 10 assists for Detroit, and Kyle Singler set a new career-high with 20 points of his own. Greg Monroe grabbed 16 rebounds to go with 18 points, as seven Pistons scored nine points or more.
“You could go down the list and every guy made a contribution for us tonight” said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. “I thought Knight had, just overall, one of his best games of the year.”
Knight’s performance was perhaps equally impressive on the defensive end, as he held all-star Kyrie Irving to only 14 points on 4-10 shooting, and five assists.
“I always enjoy playing against Kyrie,” said Knight, who like Irving is also a second-year pro. “We’ve been lacking defensively the past few games and we wanted to get back to playing the right way.”
The Pistons opened the first quarter 24-16 thanks to eight points from Knight and seven from Greg Monroe. Irving had 11 points for the Cavaliers in the opening period.
Charlie Villanueva’s seven points early in the second-quarter propelled Detroit to a 12 point lead midway through the quarter, but Marreese Speights’ buzzer beating three-pointer made it 54-47 at the half.
Led by Rodney Stuckey’s 10 points Knight’s 9 points, Detroit dominated the third quarter and effectively put the game away. The Pistons led 85-68 after three, and never looked back.
For Detroit, the win came without newly acquired point guard Jose Calderon, whose work visa status does not yet allow him to play in the United States. The Pistons are unsure whether Calderon will be able to play on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
At 13-34, Cleveland stands just one game above Charlotte and Washington for the NBA’s worst record.
“We came out lackadaisical and lifeless,” said Cavaliers coach Byron Scott. “The reason they beat us pretty handily is because they play harder than we do for longer periods of time.”
“We came out soft and that was it,” added Irving. “Our energy level just never picked up. That was it.”
The Pistons will play their fourth game in six days when they host the Lakers on Sunday. Cleveland hosts Oklahoma City on Saturday.