Due in large part to their inability to stop anyone, the Detroit Pistons haven’t won on the road since before the All-Star break.
Visiting a team that has trouble scoring – and the site of their last victory away from home – could help them solve those troubles.
The Pistons try to snap their seven-game road skid Friday night in Cleveland, where the punchless Cavaliers hope the return of Baron Davis gives them a much-needed offensive spark.
Detroit (25-46) won its last two road games prior to the break, including a 103-94 victory at Quicken Loans Arena on Feb. 9 as its bench chipped in 61 points.
Though the Cavaliers (13-57) shot 51.4 percent in that game, the Pistons were helped by 17 offensive rebounds, but they haven’t been able to overcome their subpar defense since.
They’ve allowed 107.7 points in losing their last seven road games, and their past four opponents have averaged 112.5 while shooting 55.8 percent.
Detroit was looking good at both ends of the floor Wednesday against Miami at The Palace, but an 81-73 lead after three quarters quickly evaporated. The Heat scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter and wound up winning 100-94.
“It’s always frustrating when you lose a game when you think you control the game, control the tempo of the game,” said rookie Greg Monroe, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. “You’ve got to control the game all the way to the fourth quarter and close the game out.”
Cleveland looked reinvigorated offensively in Davis’ first game after coming over from the Los Angeles Clippers, a 119-115 win at New York on March 4, but Davis has played in just three games since due to back spasms.
He’s set to return Friday and could make his first start, which is certainly good news for the Cavaliers. They’ve averaged 85.6 points and shot 40.5 percent in losing eight of nine.
They couldn’t take advantage of a prime opportunity for a win at home Wednesday against New Jersey. The Cavaliers shot 37.4 percent, going 2 of 12 from 3-point range, in a 98-94 overtime loss.
“Our guys really battled and did a real good job defensively, and that is something that we have been talking about – trying to establish that as our foundation,” coach Byron Scott said. “Tonight was a big step towards that. Down the stretch, on the offensive end, we just have to do a much better job of executing.”
While the Cavaliers will look for Davis to make a difference offensively, they’ll need to do a better job defending Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey had 24 points and 11 assists while starting in a 102-92 home win over Cleveland on Dec. 5, then had 22 off the bench in last month’s victory.
Richard Hamilton didn’t play in that game, part of a six-week period he spent in coach John Kuester’s doghouse, but he had 27 in the first meeting.
Since Hamilton’s found himself back in the rotation, he’s taken advantage. The veteran guard had 27 points against the Heat and has averaged 18.4 in his last five games.
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