Playing for only the fifth time since being acquired last month, Davis scored 16 points and hit a clinching 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining, leading the Cavaliers to a 97-91 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Davis’ shot came with Cleveland clinging to a 94-91 lead. With the shot clock winding down, he buried the 25-footer from the right wing that put the game away, giving Cleveland only its second win in 10 games.
Davis, who had missed the last three games because of back spasms, wanted the ball in his hands.
“That’s the beauty of the game, the opportunity to take the pressure shot,” he said. “I love those moments.”
Cleveland coach Byron Scott has been looking for someone to take on that role all season.
“Some guys have the guts to take those shots,” Scott said. “He definitely has them. Those are the guys willing to be the hero, but they’re also willing to be the goat. That’s what you have to be when you’re out there.”
Scott wants to work Davis into the starting lineup at some point, which could happen Sunday against Atlanta.
“It’s always nice when you have a guy that is a closer,” Scott said. “As soon as he took the ball over to the right side, I knew he was going to shoot. It’s great when you have a guy with that type of ability and confidence.”
Davis also had five assists in 24 minutes. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in a Feb. 24 trade. Prior to his back injury, Davis missed time with a sore left knee and following the death of his grandmother.
Cleveland led most of the game, but fell behind 53-52 when Detroit scored first in the third quarter. Anthony Parker’s(notes) jumper gave the Cavaliers the lead for good, but Cleveland couldn’t pull away. Detroit cut the lead to 92-91 with 1:39 to play, but Daniel Gibson(notes) hit a jumper to give Cleveland a three-point lead. The score remained that way until Davis’ big shot.
“I was going to look for J.J., but I got (Wilcox) backing up a little bit,” Davis said. “My legs were going on me a little, but I got a lot of arc on the ball.”
“We couldn’t get over the hump,” Detroit coach John Kuester said. “We had a couple of chances at the end. Guys were fighting hard. We just have to keep finding guys that will continue to play hard the whole time.”
Kuester thought the Cavs wanted to win the game more than the Pistons did.
“No question about it, they had more energy than us,” he said. “They played harder than us.”
Notes: Detroit F Charlie Villanueva(notes), who exchanged words with coach John Kuester after being removed from Wednesday’s game, didn’t play Friday. C Ben Wallace(notes) (left knee) missed his second straight game. … Longtime Cavaliers radio play-by-play man Joe Tait, who has missed the entire season because of health reasons, will return to work Sunday. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last summer.