It took a little bit of work, but the Cavs picked up a second straight win Sunday night against the Pistons.
Cleveland beat the Pistons 121-104 behind 25 points from LeBron James and 20 points from Kevin Love. James added 14 assists and eight rebounds, while Love pulled down 11 rebounds. The bench helped, too, as Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder each scored 12 points and Channing Frye scored seven. All three reserves were part of a LeBron-plus-bench unit that played for most of the fourth quarter. Tobias Harris and Anthony Tolliver each had 20 points to lead the Pistons.
The Cavs started the game off strong, and led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. A 7-0 run in the middle of the quarter, as well as nine first quarter points from Love, had Cleveland up 33-28 after one. The Pistons, however, took it to the Cavs throughout the second quarter and the two sides played evenly for most of the period. Detroit ultimately took a three point lead into the half.
Isaiah Thomas then had perhaps his best quarter as a Cavalier in the third. He scored 10 points in the period and helped spur a 9-2 Cleveland run to end the quarter. It came at a key time, too, as the Pistons were on the verge of taking control of the game before rookie Luke Kennard missed a wide-open lay-up and Cleveland went on its run. He proceeded to sit the entire fourth quarter, and finished with 14 points and a season-high seven assists.
The fourth quarter saw Tyronn Lue open with a lineup of James, Korver, Crowder, Frye and Jeff Green. A Korver three with 7:15 to go put the Cavs up by three and they proceeded to dominate the rest of the way. With 1:57 left, Korver drove from the right corner past Pistons guard Reggie Bullock and scored to put the Cavs up 11. It prompted a Pistons timeout and put the game effectively out of reach, although a J.R. Smith three-pointer 21 seconds later was a welcome exclamation point.
Like Smith, Love played the final 5:26. Like Thomas, Tristan Thompson didn’t not play in the fourth quarter. Finally, Lue pulled out LeBron and Love with 49 seconds to go with Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy also pulling his key players.
The Cavs next play on Tuesday against the Pistons. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. in Detroit.