Prince's 29 paces Pistons to 87-75 win over Cavs

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Tayshaun Prince matched a season high with 29 points and rookie Brandon Knight added 16 to help the Detroit Pistons beat Cleveland 87-75 on Wednesday night, handing the Cavaliers their fifth straight loss.

Prince made all four 3-pointers and added eight rebounds for the Pistons, who closed with an 11-4 outburst after the Cavs closed within five.

Rookie Kyrie Irving had 20 points with nine rebounds and six assists for Cleveland, which has dropped eight of nine and fallen completely out of the playoff race.

Irving's jumper made it 76-71 with 4:08 left, but Knight hit a 3-pointer, Jason Maxiell grabbed a rebound and dunked and Prince hit a short hook.

Greg Monroe added 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who scored more than 80 points for the first time in four games. Pistons starting guard Rodney Stuckey injured his hamstring in the first quarter and did not return.

Prince is one of the few holdovers from the days when the Pistons and Cavaliers were among the NBA's best teams and battled for Eastern supremacy.

The slender 6-foot-9 forward played with confidence and as if it was 2007 again as Detroit beat Cleveland for the first time in three tries this season. Prince made three 3-pointers and scored 13 points in the second quarter, when the Pistons outscored the Cavaliers 28-21 to take a five-point halftime lead.

Prince made another 3 early in the third as the Pistons began to pull away, stretching their lead to 15 on Maxiell's jumper.

Irving, who has been in a recent scoring and shooting slump, finally scored for the first time since the first quarter and the Cavs closed the third with a 10-2 run to pull within seven points.

Early in the fourth, Cleveland's Omri Casspi somehow flipped in a shot while falling backward in the lane to make it 72-67, giving the Cavs some life. But Prince responded, knocking down a 12-foot jumper and then ended a scoreless drought of nearly three minutes for the Pistons with a floater to make it 76-67.

Irving, who has been so strong in the fourth all season, scored four quick points, but Knight's 3 from the left wing was the dagger Detroit needed.

The Cavs got off to another sluggish start as Detroit scored the first six points before coach Byron Scott called a timeout to get his team refocused.

Irving got the message and the presumptive rookie of the year came out and scored 10 quick points, the last coming on a 3-pointer, as the Cavs opened a 17-10 lead.

But Cleveland's second unit couldn't keep it going and Prince's 13-point second quarter gave Detroit a 49-44 lead at the break.

Notes: The 75 points matched a season-low for the Cavs. ... Scott, who celebrated his 51st birthday, joked he's now got a better connection for Dodgers tickets after close friend and former Lakers teammate Magic Johnson was part of group that agreed to pay $2 billion to buy the baseball team. Scott laughed when asked if Johnson asked him to kick in some money. "I don't want to be part of that stuff," he said. "That's all him. He wants to own LA. I don't even want a piece of it. I'm fine where I am." ... Pistons backup guard Ben Gordon sat out with a sore groin. He sustained the injury Saturday against New York and was limited to six minutes Monday against Washington. ... Cavs center Anderson Varejao, sidelined since Feb. 11 with a broken wrist, hopes to play again this season and intends to play for Brazil in the London Olympics this summer. ...