NBA Game Summary - Detroit at Cleveland
(Thursday, December 21st)
Final Score: Detroit 87, Cleveland 71
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups had a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists to pace Detroit to an 87-71 win over Cleveland.
Tayshaun Prince scored 16 points and eight rebounds while Richard Hamilton had 11 points for the Pistons, who saw six players finish in double figures. Antonio McDyess and Jason Maxiell also had 11 points each while McDyess grabbed 11 rebounds.
Nazr Mohammed had 10 points for the Pistons, who have won three in row and five of their last six.
"I think our defense has gotten better over the last three weeks," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "Our ability to change defenses, play zone, play man, just lets us dictate how the game is played. Tonight, there's no question, the game was played how we wanted to play the game."
Rasheed Wallace returned to the lineup for the first time since missing two games and had nine points with six boards. Wallace had been out with an ankle injury.
LeBron James had a game-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have lost three in a row. It was just Cleveland's third home loss in 14 games.
"We just have to get better," James said. "I don't know when it's going to happen. We can't keep going out there and doing the same thing. We know it's a concern and we have to take care of it."
Zydrunas Ilgauskas tallied 16 points, while Larry Hughes added 12 points and eight boards in defeat.
The game was tightly contested through the first three frames as Detroit held just a 57-55 lead heading into the fourth.
The Pistons, though, got hot and outscored the Cavaliers 30-16 in the final quarter.
The Pistons opened the final quarter by netting the first six points, as Billups' jumper with 9:46 left staked his squad to a 64-57 advantage. Later, after a free throw by Cleveland's Anderson Varejao, Billups knocked down a three and Maxiell's subsequent jumper put the Pistons on top, 71-58 with 8:19 remaining.
Five straight points by McDyess midway through the frame extended Detroit's lead to 77-60 and a jumper by Ronald Dupree with 1:25 remaining ran the Pistons' lead to 20 at 87-67.
Neither team could gain control in the first half as Cleveland led 24-22 after the first before Detroit took a 42-41 edge into halftime.
The Pistons created a little separation in the third as seven straight points put Detroit ahead 57-52 with 2:37 left in the frame. Donyell Marshall, though, stopped the bleeding on a three-pointer with 1:38 to go and neither team netted another basket for the rest of the stanza.
Cavaliers forward Ira Newble missed the game due to personal reasons. His absence has been excused by the team...Detroit shot 43.8 percent from the floor while the Cavs were 34.2 percent...Drew Gooden had six points in the loss.
12/22 01:00:09 ET