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Pistons Hunt Down Cavaliers


With Grant Hill still laid up and Jerry Stackhouse suffering from the flu, the Detroit Pistons knew help was needed to avoid a ninth loss in 10 games.

"I knew Grant wasn't going to be playing and Stack wasn't feeling well, so I figured I had to be aggressive," said Lindsay Hunter, who had 26 points and a season-high 10 assists in the Pistons' 105-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

"I told the other guys that I was going right at them on offense and defense.".

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  • Cleveland was also shorthanded, playing without injured Bobby Sura, then losing Brevin Knight in the second quarter with a sore knee.

    "Obviously, you'd like to have a full roster, but that's not an excuse," Cavaliers coach Randy Wittman said. "Lindsey got hot and we just didn't do enough to make things hard on him."

    Stackhouse managed 22 points, and Terry Mills had 19.

    "My stomach was pretty bad all day, but the point where I felt the worst was when I was 1-for-9 from the floor," he said. "We had a lot of guys step up tonight when we needed it."

    Shawn Kemp led Cleveland with 22 points and Lamond Murray scored 19.

    "We've got nobody to blame for this one but ourselves," Kemp said. "This was a winnable game, but we just didn't fight through the rough stretches."

    The Pistons led 46-44 at the half, with Hunter scoring 19. Twelve came in a 1:41 stretch of the second quarter.

    Detroit opened things up in the third, hitting 3-pointers on its first three possessions on the way to a 14-2 run and a 60-46 lead. Mills had two 3-pointers an eight points in the run.

    The Pistons led by as many as 15 before Cleveland cut the margin to 78-66 at the end of the quarter.

    "I thought the key to the game was our defense in the third," Pistons coach Alvin Gentry said. "We forced some turnovers and got some easy baskets."

    The Cavaliers opened the fourth with a 13-4 run, closing the gap to 82-79 with 8:05 to go. Andre Miller, playing in Knight's spot, had seven points.

    That's when Cleveland cooled off, missing its next four shots and going scoreless for nearly three minutes.

    Detroit moved the margin back to 86-79, and Cleveland didn't get within a basket again.

    "I was very happy with the way that we responded when they made that run," Gentry said. "It would have been easy for us to fold at that point, but we maintained our poise and got a win that we desperately, desperately needed."

    Notes

  • Hunter hit three 3-pointers in his second-quarter surge and converted one into a four-point play.
  • Cleveland is 4-19 on the road and 15-8 at home.
  • Cleveland had a brief power play in the fourth quarter. Terry Mills picked up his sixth foul and left the floor, but the officials didn't realize it and started the game before Jerome Williams could check in. Play went on for about 10 seconds before the Pistons were able to alert the officials to the mistake. Play resumed from the original point.

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