Luke Kennard scored 26 points, Reggie Jackson added 24 and the Detroit Pistons took it to a depleted Cleveland team from the opening tip, building a 33-point lead in the first half and rolling to a 129-93 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday.
After coach Dwane Casey said he wanted his group to play “as a desperate team,” Detroit came out flying.
The Pistons, who are fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, scored 42 in the first quarter while taking a 71-38 halftime lead.
The score could have been more lopsided, but the officials convened at halftime and took away a basket by Detroit. It may have been Cleveland’s best defensive stop of the night.
Andre Drummond had 13 points and 10 rebounds and got some extra rest for the Pistons, who play at Toronto on Sunday.
Rookie Collin Sexton scored 14 for the Cavs. Cleveland played without star forward Kevin Love, who was rested while he continues to build up strength following foot surgery. Love isn’t ready to play in consecutive games, and with the Cavs hosting Orlando on Sunday, the team sat him.
Even Love wouldn’t have helped much.
His absence, along with big men Tristan Thompson (foot) and Ante Zizic (concussion) both being out, left Cleveland vulnerable inside and Detroit took advantage. The Pistons did whatever they pleased on offense, getting easy looks in the lane and behind the arc.
Jackson scored 12 points in the first quarter on 5-of-5 shooting, making a pair of 3-pointers as the Pistons began pulling away.
Detroit, which has won eight of 10, came in holding the No. 7 spot in the East. Before the game, Casey said his team has to be consistent and must avoid let downs against lesser teams.
“We haven’t done anything special,” he said. “To establish an identity as a winning team we can’t be on a roller coaster.”
Pistons: Drummond has reached double-digits in points and rebounds in 14 straight games. … Detroit has made at least 12 3-pointers in 11 straight, extending the franchise record. … Came in averaging 107 points, their highest average since 1987-88.
Cavaliers: Sexton missed his first seven field-goal tries and finished 3 of 13. … Thompson has missed 18 straight games. … Zizic remains in concussion protocol. He was injured in Thursday’s win at New York. … Cleveland had won its previous four home games against Detroit by at least 17.
Cavs forward Channing Frye said his decision to retire after this season was easy. Family first.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back, I was on vacation,” explained Frye, who announced Friday on Twitter that he intends to stop playing after this season, his 13th in the NBA. “I went to Puerto Rico with my kids and I saw our best friends who live down there and their kids are 12, 11, 10. My son is eight now. I’m like, ‘I want to go his practice and not have to worry about my practice.’ I want to make time for them.”
The 35-year-old Frye, who played on Cleveland’s title team in 2016, hopes to be remembered for his honesty.
“By being real, whether it was goofy or rude or brash, whatever it is, just know that I was me all the time, I tried to be,” he said. “Throughout my career I haven’t cared about stats. I don’t care about none of that. Every team I’ve been on, I just wanted to win and I wanted to see guys do well. … I met some amazing guys. Hopefully they say Channing was an amazing guy and send me a text once in a while.”
Pistons: At Toronto on Sunday.
Cavaliers: Come right back and host Orlando on Sunday.