Basketball

With James resting, Cavs fall to Pistons

DETROIT PISTONS CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
106 90

The Detroit Pistons made the most of LeBron James' absence, snapping a five-game skid with a 106-90 victory yesterday morning (Singapore time) over the NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers.

A day after their 109-108 triumph over the Golden State Warriors in a Christmas Day thriller, the short-handed Cavs had no answer for the Pistons.

Tobias Harris came off the bench to lead Detroit with 21 points. The hosts shot a modest 44.6 per cent overall, but they connected on 16 of 28 (57.1 per cent) from three-point range.

Six Pistons scored in double figures, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributing 18 points, Marcus Morris 15 and Jon Leuer and Reggie Jackson 13 apiece.

With James watching from the sidelines, the Pistons seized a 50-44 half-time lead.

They held the Cavaliers to 38 per cent shooting and forced 22 turnovers, leading to 29 Detroit points. But Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy felt the Cavs' giveaways were mainly due to James' absence.

"I didn't think we forced a lot," he said.

"Kyrie's (Irving) used to making plays, but nobody else on that team really ever has to make a play other than Kyrie or LeBron.

"Today, (others) had to try to make some plays. They're in unfamiliar territory. These are guys who normally play off those two guys.

"When there's only one of them, it's a little bit harder."

Kyrie led the Cavaliers with 18 points and eight assists. Kevin Love added 17 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland, who saw a five-game winning streak end as they fell to 23-7.

Cleveland are 23-4 when James is in uniform and 0-3 without him this season.

"He's probably the best player in the world," Pistons forward Leuer said.

"When he's not in there, it's a different feel, for sure. They still have some talented guys with Kyrie and Kevin, their shooters and how they space the floor.

"It still makes it difficult, but LeBron kind of facilitates everything." - WIRE SERVICES

OTHER RESULTS

LA Clippers 102 Denver 106, Sacramento 102 Philadelphia 100, Portland 91 Toronto 95, Chicago 90 Indiana 85, New Orleans 111 Dallas 104, Houston 131 Phoenix 115, Minnesota 104 Atlanta 90, Brooklyn 120 Charlotte 118, Washington 107 Milwaukee 102, Orlando 112 Memphis 102

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