Waiters scores 22 in Cavaliers rout of hapless Pistons, 122-100
CLEVELAND (AP) – Dion Waiters scored 22 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers, their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, routed the Detroit Pistons 122-100 on Wednesday night.
Tyler Zeller scored 18 and rookie Matthew Dellavedova had 14 points and 12 assists for Cleveland, which entered the night trailing Atlanta by 3 games for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
As the Hawks were hosting Boston, the Cavs played with passion and purpose – two things missing too often earlier this season.
Spencer Hawes added 15 points for the Cavs, who led by 32 at half and rolled to one of their best all-around performances in what has been an otherwise disappointing season.
Cleveland set a team record with 26 assists in the first half and finished with a season-high 41.
Brandon Jennings scored 17 after missing his first 10 shots for the Pistons, who played their second game in a row without forward Josh Smith, sidelined with knee tendinitis. Jonas Jerebko added 17 points for Detroit.
The unexpected blowout win capped a turbulent few days for the Cavs. Earlier this week, guard Kyrie Irving got into a public spat with Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, an embarrassing squabble between two of the city’s biggest sports stars. Irving had told Gordon “to mind his own business” about commenting on the All-Star’s supposed rift with Waiters.
Following practice on Monday, Irving and Waiters presented a united front and said they worked through any differences and were only focused on winning.
Maybe the backcourt mates patching up their differences rubbed off on the rest of the Cavs, as coach Mike Brown spent most of the game sitting on the bench as opposed to standing and yelling.
The Cavs had 14 assists on 14 field goals in the first quarter, which ended with them up 31-18. They were nearly as efficient in the second quarter, outscoring the Pistons 38-19 on the way to a 69-37 halftime lead.