AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Shooting guard Dion Waiters made 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.
Waiters fired in his shot from the right side over Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey after an inbounds pass from forward Luol Deng. Waiters wound up with 18 points, while Cavaliers reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova scored a career-high 21 points.
Cleveland (29-44) dressed only 10 players because of injuries but extended its winning streak to three games. The Cavaliers lead the season series 2-1.
Cavaliers point guard Jarrett Jack tossed in 17 points, while center Anderson Varejao contributed 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Forward Josh Smith led the Pistons (26-45) with 24 points, and he added eight rebounds and six assists. Point guard Brandon 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.
Smith scored seven points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, but Cleveland hung around behind Dellavedova’s perimeter shooting. When Waiters made a jumper with 3:58 remaining, Detroit’s lead was down to 94-87.
Jack made a 3-pointer over Detroit center Andre Drummond to move his team within 96-90. Another Jack basket got the deficit down to four, and his three-point play with 53.8 seconds remaining made it 96-95.
Smith missed a jumper, but the Cavs knocked the ball out of bounds. Jennings then misfired in the lane with the shot clock winding down, giving Cleveland one last chance with 3.2 seconds left.
The Pistons outscored the Cavs 31-16 in the third quarter to seemingly take control. Monroe made a pair of layups during a 9-0 run to put the Pistons up 65-54. Smith scored 10 points in the quarter as Detroit maintained a double-digit lead. Jennings drained a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to make it 82-66.
Singler and Jennings had 11 points apiece in the first half, lifting the Pistons to a 51-50 halftime advantage. Detroit led by 14 early, but the Cavs chipped away behind 20 bench points.
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. “It’s a special mark when you think about the guys that are one and two,” Brown said.
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