Waiters hit a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer, and the depleted
Cleveland Cavaliers erased a 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit to
stun the Detroit Pistons 97-96 Wednesday night at The Palace.
After an inbounds pass from forward Luol Deng, Waiters fired in his
shot from the right side over Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey.
"Those are the shots you always picture in your head when you're in
the gym by yourself, counting down (the clock)," said Waiters, who
wound up with 18 points. "You're always thinking about a game like
that, you're always thinking about a game-winner. When the time
comes, are you going to be ready?
"My time was tonight. Coach (Mike Brown) came to me, believed in me,
and I was able to knock down a shot for my team."
Waiters and Brown disagreed afterward about the play call. Brown
said he wanted Waiters to attack the basket.
"I told him to drive it because we were in the bonus," Brown said.
"I felt Stuckey or whoever was guarding him would be up in his chest
and probably pick up a foul. That's how much he listens to me."
Brown was smiling on the last sentence, and so was Waiters when he
was asked about the play moments later.
"He didn't say drive," Waiters said.
There was no dispute this was an unlikely comeback, even though the
Cavaliers did something similar in their last trip to Detroit. They
were down nine points with three minutes remaining, then reeled off
10 unanswered points. On Feb. 12, Cleveland outscored the Pistons
34-23 in the fourth quarter in a 93-89 win.
"It's just growth," Cavaliers point guard Jarrett Jack said of the
latest comeback. "Once you've been put in these positions before,
you understand what it takes to dig yourself out. Obviously, we
don't like playing from behind, but we're somewhat battle-tested in
Reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova scored a career-high 21 points for
Cleveland, which dressed only 10 players because of injuries but
extended its winning streak to three games. The Cavaliers (29-44)
lead the season series 2-1.
Jack tossed in 17 points, while Cleveland center Anderson Varejao
contributed 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Detroit (26-45) lost for the 11th time after taking a lead into the
"You're a shot away from winning the game," Pistons interim head
coach John Loyer said. "You do have to think about all of the little
things, whether it's a missed free throw, whether it's a missed
block-out. It goes more than just the last play when you lose a
tight game. There are so many things during the game you could
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The Pistons missed their last five shot attempts and also committed
a turnover during Cleveland's late rally.
"I think we were kind of rushing a little bit instead of just taking
our time," Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings said. "We had a
couple of bad possessions down the stretch where we couldn't get a
Forward Josh Smith led the Pistons with 24 points, and he added
eight rebounds and six assists. Jennings recorded his 17th
double-double with 17 points and 13 assists for Detroit, which lost
for the sixth time in seven games. Guard Kyle Singler added 18
points, and power forward Greg Monroe chipped in 14.
Jack made a 3-pointer over Detroit center Andre Drummond to start
the late run. Another Jack basket got the deficit down to four, and
his three-point play with 53.8 seconds remaining made it 96-95.
Smith and Jennings missed jumpers, giving Cleveland one last chance
with 3.2 seconds left.
NOTES: Cleveland PG Kyrie Irving missed his sixth consecutive game
with a left biceps strain. The Cavaliers' top draft pick, F Anthony
Bennett, sat out for the ninth consecutive game with a left patellar
tendon strain. SF Carrick Felix (knee), G Sergey Karasev (knee) and
SF C.J. Miles (ankle) were also sidelined. ... The Cavaliers have
used 18 different lineups, and only one player, PF Tristan Thompson,
has appeared in every game. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond's average
of 12.8 rebounds per game is the highest by any player 20 years old
or younger in league history. Dwight Howard (12.5 with Orlando in
2005-06) holds the record. ... Detroit is 4-22 when outrebounded by
its opponent. The Pistons finished with a 48-45 rebounding edge
Wednesday. ... Mike Brown recorded his 300th career victory as a
Cavaliers coach in their 102-100 win over the Toronto Raptors on
Tuesday. Lenny Wilkins (316) and Bill Fitch (304) are the only other
Cleveland coaches with more victories.
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