CLEVELAND — The Detroit Pistons were cruising. An alley-oop lob from Cade Cunningham to Marvin Bagley III gave the Pistons an 80-68 lead late in the third quarter.
But the Cavaliers used a 24-4 run second-half to take control of the game, and eventually had the Pistons a 113-109 loss on Saturday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Jerami Grant finished with a season-best 40 points from Jerami Grant on 13-for-22 shooting. Saddiq Bey had 20 points and six rebounds, and Cade Cunningham added a double-double with 15 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Cleveland’s run came after Isaiah Stewart, who had a strong defensive game and kept Mobley in check for much of the night, exited the game with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul.
Detroit has struggled to score the ball when Cunningham, Grant and Bey are all on the bench, and that was the case on Saturday. The five-player bench unit of Saben Lee, Rodney McGruder, Isaiah Livers, Marvin Bagley III and Kelly Olynyk was unable to sustain any offensive flow. Cleveland took the lead for good with 39.4 seconds to play in the third, when Kevin Love knocked down a 3 to extend a 14-1 run and give the Cavaliers a one-point lead.
Cunningham, Grant and Cory Joseph checked back into the game with 9:05 remaining, but the damage was already done. A late 3 by Bey cut the deficit to 105-102 with 2:38 on the clock, but Isaac Okoro knocked down a dagger 3-pointer a minute later to clinch the win for Cleveland.
Killian Hayes missed the game with a head contusion.
Grant’s big night not enough
During the first half, it appeared Grant was on pace to match Saddiq Bey’s 51-point effort against the Orlando Magic on Thursday. Grant scored 27 points through the first two quarters, knocking down eight of his 12 overall shots and six of seven 3-point attempts.
Like Bey on Thursday, everything Grant did looked easy. He knocked down 3-pointer after 3-pointer and got his usual diet of free-throw attempts, going 7-for-7 at the line. Grant slightly cooled off during the second half, but still did his best to keep the Pistons afloat. He led Detroit in the fourth quarter with eight points, and he scored his 40th point on a layup with 4:03 left in the game.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.