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Pistons frontcourt dominates Cavs in win

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers' game plan was to be physical with the Detroit Pistons' big frontcourt.

That was anything but the case Monday as the Pistons' frontcourt dominated the game in their 115-92 victory over the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Pistons small forward Josh Smith outscored the Cavaliers' starting frontcourt by himself, 25-24.

Smith played like an all-star with eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. He's averaging 23.8 points in his last six games.

Center Andre Drummond was also dominant with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while power forward Greg Monroe added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

They thumped the Cavaliers on the boards, 50-39, including an 18-13 advantage on the offensive glass. The Pistons had a 58-40 edge in points in the paint.

It was the Cavaliers' most lopsided loss at home since April 3, 2012, in a 125-90 decision to San Antonio.

"We have to rebound, defend and be physical, without fouling," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We haven't seen that for a while."

The Cavaliers' lack of urgency and physical play Monday left Brown totally befuddled.

"Our sense of urgency the last two ball games has been non-existent," he said. "You can live with some missed shots. The one thing we didn't do was attack the rim. We settled. That part is disturbing.

"I'm not sure why we're playing like that defensively. The way we're defending, along with some of our turnovers, I have no answer for that."

The Cavaliers (10-17) shot just 38.6 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from the 3-point line.

"Just because we're not making shots it doesn't mean we can take off possessions on defense," Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson said.

The Cavaliers experienced some success at home, having won five of their last six games at The Q before Monday.

"I've had people say, 'You're arrived,' " Brown said. "No one is going to give you anything in this league. The mental approach is as difficult as the physical approach. We're getting hit in the mouth right now. We'll see how we respond to this.

"If we have any pride, we'll fight."

The Pistons' frontcourt wasn't the only facet that played well. Point guard Brandon Jennings finished with 21 points, a game-high 13 assists and two steals.

Point guard Kyrie Irving had 21 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers, while Thompson added 17 points and six rebounds.

Center Tyler Zeller had a season-high 13 points and four rebounds. He made 6 of 7 field-goal attempts. Reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova had 10 points and six assists.

Center Andrew Bynum missed all 11 shots from the field for zero points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

"Every single shot he took was wide open," Brown said. "Even the post-ups when he backed guys down (were open). He just didn't make them."

The Pistons (14-16) took a 58-40 lead at halftime, as the Cavaliers were shooting 27.5 percent from the floor. Bynum, C.J. Miles, Jarrett Jack and Anthony Bennett shot a combined 0 of 19 from field in the first half.

"We closed off the paint," Pistons coach Mo Cheeks said. "I thought our transition defense was good. Everything we did, pretty much, was on a string. It allowed us to get some easy baskets, rebound and get out in the open court."

Jennings said it was a team effort defending Irving, who had just two points in the second half.

"We tried to trap a lot of pick-and-rolls and just take him out of the game early (in the second half)," he said.

NOTES: Cavaliers G Dion Waiters, wearing a splint on his right wrist, said he hopes to return soon. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder said his wrist tendinitis developed over time. He missed his third consecutive game Monday. ... Cleveland F Anthony Bennett was back in action. He had been in bed since Thursday fighting a sickness. "I was sneezing, coughing and had a sore throat," Bennett said. ... The Pistons are 8-6 on the road, far better than their 6-10 home mark. "If I could explain it, I'd solve it," coach Mo Cheeks said. ... Drummond came into the game averaging 12.6 rebounds, including 5.2 on the offensive glass. "It's tough to keep him off the glass," Brown said. "He gets off the ground quickly for a big man."
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