AUBURN HILLS (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Kyrie Irving's three-pointer as the shot clock expired with under 30 seconds to play lifted the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Detroit Pistons, 93-89, tonight at the Palace.
The loss ends Detroit's three-game winning streak and is the first defeat for interim coach John Loyer, who is now 1-1 in the new position.
Five Pistons were in double figures, led by Josh Smith's 18 points to go with 10 rebounds. Greg Monroe had 16 points and Andre Drummond had 16 points and 17 rebounds. Kyle Singler scored 12 and Will Bynum had 12 off the bench.
But Detroit shot just 40% (33-for-83) from the field and made only 4 of 23 three-pointers (17%). The Pistons outrebounded the Cavs, 53-45, but had 16 turnovers.
Rodney Stuckey took a hard hit to the head in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game, complaining of dizziness.
Tristan Thompson had 25 points and 15 rebounds and Irving had 21 points. Cleveland shot 41%
The game was tied at 80 with 3:18 to go when Monroe split a pair of free throws. Then the teams traded misses until, after the Cavs called time-out, Irving made a pair of free throws to take an 82-81 lead.
Smith answered with a dunk on the other end, but Thompson came up with an Earl Clark miss and dunk. Then after Smith missed a short shot, Thompson hit the Pistons again with another offensive rebound and basket to make it 86-83 with 59 seconds left.
After Detroit's time-out, Singler was followed by fellow Duke Blue Devil Luol Deng. Singler two free throws cut the lead to one, setting the stage for Irving's back-breaking three.
Monroe missed a 6-footer with 20 seconds left and the Cavs cleared the board, helping put the game out of reach.
Detroit's offense fell flat in the third and the double-digit lead was erased on 13-5 run to pull Cleveland to 59-58. But Brandon Jennings hit a three-pointer and Drummond closed an otherwise offensively inept third with a basket as the Pistons led, 66-59, going to the fourth.
Bynum's six straight points helped the Pistons take a 76-66 lead with 8:19 to play, but Cleveland answered with an 8-0 run. After two Singler free throws, Thompson made back-to-back baskets to tie the game, 78-78, with 5 minutes left.
The Pistons jumped out in front first and closed the opening period with a 28-22 lead. Detroit's advantage got as high as 13 on a Smith free throw and three-pointer late in the second. The Pistons led, 51-40, at the break.