Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen lead short-handed Cavaliers to rout of Pistons
CLEVELAND — Jarrett Allen scored 20 points, Evan Mobley added 19 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight game, 113-85 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night despite resting their starting backcourt.
All-Star starter Donovan Mitchell (groin) and Darius Garland (thumb) got the night off to heal some nagging injuries and the Cavs barely missed their top guards.
With Allen and Mobley doing inside damage and combining for 21 points, Cleveland built an 18-point lead at the end of one quarter. The Pistons hung around and got within two in the third before the Cavs opened the fourth by outscoring Detroit 26-4 over the first seven minutes to put it away.
Allen added 14 rebounds as the Cavs outrebounded the Pistons 48-32 and held them to their lowest point total this season.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 and rookie Jalen Duren 14 for Detroit. The Pistons have dropped nine of 11 and have the worst record (14-42) in the Eastern Conference.
Cavaliers swingman Caris LeVert, who has been mentioned in rumors leading into Thursday's NBA trade deadline, struggled for much of the game. He finished with 15 points — 10 in the fourth — on 5-of-16 shooting.
LeVert's expiring $18 million contract makes him attractive for a team looking to clear salary space in the offseason.
The great debate
Now that he's the NBA's career scoring leader, LeBron James has checked a box on his resume that can't be equaled.
And while there will continue to be discussion over whether James or Michael Jordan is the greatest player in league history, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes one argument has been settled.
"I no longer think there is a debate over who had the greatest NBA career,” Bickerstaff said, referring to James, who spent 11 seasons with Cleveland.
For Bickerstaff, James' best attribute is his well-roundedness — as a player and person.
“The way he has gone about his business,” he said. "He’s a pro's pro. He’s about his teammates. He made everybody he plays with better. You can be a great player and be selfless. ”He's a hell of a role model for younger players.”
Pistons: Surprisingly, Detroit came in leading the league in free throws attempted (27) and made (20.8). Those are the highest totals for any team since the Clippers (28.5, 22.6) in 2018-19. ... The Pistons went 17 of 18 from the line. ... Rookie Jaden Ivey has scored in double figures in 17 straight games.
Cavaliers: LeVert and Raul Neto started in place of Mitchell and Garland. Neto had 14 points eight assists and four steals. ... Recorded their league-leading 25th win by double digits. ... F Kevin Love was active, but didn't play for the fifth straight game. ... Mitchell's groin has bothered him for over three weeks. The Cavs took advantage of a lesser opponent to give him time off. “That injury is a tough one to deal with because it limits you in so many ways,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s working his way through that and getting closer to 100%.”
Pistons: Host San Antonio on Friday.
Cavaliers: At New Orleans on Friday.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Cavs blast Pistons even without Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland