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DeClercq Leads Cavs Past Pistons


Andrew DeClercq's haircut makes him look like a taller Ringo Starr. But the Cavs could care less if he can keep a beat, crash a cymbal or sing background vocals.

DeClercq grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds in his home debut and Brevin Knight scored a season-high 19 points Tuesday night, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 86-82 win over the Detroit Pistons.

"They played with a magical ball, I guess," DeClercq said. "It seemed to bounce towards me."

DeClercq, acquired last week from Boston in a trade, has made a big impression with his teammates already. Not only do they love his hustle, they've also taken to poking some fun at his resemblance to the former Beatles drummer.

Someone tacked two photos of Starr above DeClercq's locker. One says "Andrew Starr" and the other "Ringo DeClercq."

"Who doesn't?" DeClercq said when asked who on the Cavs thinks he looks like Ringo. "You want to take a quick poll? And no, I can't play the drums. Those photos were someone's idea of welcoming me to Cleveland."

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Game Summary

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  • Shawn Kemp added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Cavs, who improved to 10-10 despite shooting just 33 percent from the floor.

    Grant Hill led the Pistons with 23 points on just 11-for-29 shooting and Joe Dumars added 18 points -- all on 3-pointers -- for Detroit.

    The eams were meeting for the third and final time this season, and that's probably a good thing for everyone. Both clubs looked tired and played like it.

    "Whew," said Hill. "It was a rough night. I thought both teams played poorly. We didn't bring our 'A' game and beat ourselves."

    Detroit coach Alvin Gentry complained about the officiating throughout the second half. He may have had a beef. The Pistons were whistled for 31 personal fouls to 15 for the Cavs.

    "Well, we got outhustled," said Gentry, who had nothing to say about the refs afterward, "that's the big key right there. They made the plays when they had to and we didn't."

    The Cavs led 66-62 when Knight's two free throws started an 11-4 run, and when Wesley Person drilled a 3-pointer as the 24-second clock expired with 1:48 remaining, Cleveland appeared to be in control with an 80-69 lead.

    But when the Cavs couldn't put the game away at the free-throw line, the Pistons crept back and pulled within four before finally running out of time.

    With Cleveland trailing by nine points with 4:50 left in the third quarter and Kemp on the bench with four fouls, Knight scored nine points in a 13-0 run that helped the Cavs take a 55-51 lead.

    "I just sensed we needed a spark right there," said Knight. "Sometimes it just gets to the point where you have open shots and you have to knock them down."

    But Dumars, who has killed Cleveland from behind the arc all year, drilled his sixth 3-pointer to bring the Pistons within one entering the fourth.

    Amazingly, the Cavs shot 29 percent from the floor (12-for-41) in the first half and still managed a 34-33 lead at the break.

    Notes

    • Detroit center Eric Montross had a forgettable trip to the line in the third quarter. His first attempt was about three feet short; his second hit the top of the square on the backboard; and after getting a third try because of a lane violation, he again bricked one off the board.
    • Dumars went 14-for-23 on 3-pointers vs. Cleveland this season.
    • Kemp reached 12,000 career points with a late free throw.
    • Cleveland has just 1,000 tickets remaining for Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Dennis Rodman has still not rejoined the Lakers and it's still unclear when he'll return.

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