Pis­tons pound LeBron-less Cavs

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By ASSOCIATED PRESS in Auburn Hills, Michi­gan

LeBron James took the night off, and that was ex­actly the break the Detroit Pis­tons needed.

To­bias Har­ris scored 21 points to help the Pis­tons snap a five-game los­ing streak by beat­ing the Cleve­land Cava­liers 106-90 on Mon­day night while James sat out to rest.

“Any time you go through a stretch like that, you’re just fight­ing for a win,” Har­ris said.

“It could change a lot, so we’ll take this one and move for­ward and con­tinue to build some con­sis­tency.”

James missed his third game of the sea­son, and Cleve­land has lost all three. The Cavs had their five-game win­ning streak snapped on a night they never led.

Cleve­land was play­ing its fifth game in seven days and com­ing off a thrilling 109-108 Christ­mas Day win over Golden State.

“They haven’t played since Fri­day and they’ve been sit­ting here wait­ing for us. Give them credit, be­cause that’s what they are sup­posed to do,” Cleve­land’s Kyrie Irv­ing said.

“They knew we were fly­ing in here af­ter the Golden State game, and they were rest­ing up and wait­ing for us. They jumped on us early, but it might have been dif­fer­ent if they were com­ing off a backto-back and we had two days of rest.”

The Cavs were also play­ing their fourth game with­out start­ing guard J.R. Smith, who is ex­pected to miss three months be­cause of a bro­ken right thumb.

Detroit scored the first eight points, led 50-44 at half­time and took con­trol near the end of the third quar­ter.

Har­ris and Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope made 3-point­ers early in the fourth, and the Pis­tons led 82-65.

Kevin Love had 17 points and 14 re­bounds for Cleve­land.

There was some boo­ing when James was an­nounced as a scratch be­fore the game. Al­though the crowd was cer­tainly happy to see the Pis­tons play well, the at­mos­phere wasn’t quite as rau­cous as it surely would have been had Detroit routed the Cavs with Cleve­land’s top player in the lineup.

“LeBron is ob­vi­ously a great player who opens up the floor for his team­mates, so other guys have to step up,” said Cavs coach Ty­ronn Lue. “I thought we tried to do that tonight, but it didn’t hap­pen.”

The Pis­tons went 16 of 28 from 3-point range, and An­dre Drum­mond had 11 points and 17 re­bounds.

New look

Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy changed his start­ing lineup on Christ­mas Eve in an at­tempt to shake the Pis­tons out of their funk, start­ing Jon Leuer in place of Har­ris.

Detroit played de­cently in that game but lost to Golden State be­fore end­ing the skid on Mon­day.

“It’s two games,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not go­ing to go crazy, like, de­cid­ing that that’s the great move. We didn’t win both games. We’re 1-1. We’ ll see how it goes, but I’ve been happy with the two games.”

Cleve­land guard Kay Felder, a rookie who played col­le­giately just a few min­utes away at Oak­land Univer­sity, scored 11 points in his re­turn to Michi­gan.

“I thought we played hard. We just gave some young guys a chance to play and looked at a few dif­fer­ent things,” Lue said.

“The big­gest fac­tor in the game was them hit­ting 16 out of 28 3s. That’s just great shoot­ing.”

The NBA on Mon­day said two calls were missed in the fi­nal mo­ments of Cleve­land’s win over Golden State on Sun­day, and both aided the Cava­liers in what be­came their one­point vic­tory.

The league said Cleve­land star LeBron James should have been as­sessed a tech­ni­cal foul for de­lib­er­ately hang­ing on the rim af­ter his dunk with 1:43 re­main­ing, and Cava­liers for­ward Richard Jef­fer­son should have been called for foul­ing the War­riors’ Kevin Du­rant on the game’s fi­nal play.

Jef­fer­son’s feet ap­peared to get tan­gled with Du­rant’s on that last play. Du­rant tum­bled to the floor, and could only

BOB LEVEY / AP

Hous­ton Rock­ets’ James Har­den puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns‘ Alex Len in the first half of Mon­day’s NBA clash in Hous­ton. Har­den scored 32 points and dished out 12 as­sists as the Rock­ets won 131-115.

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