Cleveland Cavaliers rally for overtime win over Detroit Pistons, 115-112
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers finished a tumultuous couple days with an emotional victory.
However they felt about what had unfolded between them and coach John Beilein, the Cavaliers kept playing hard.
Thompson scored a career-high 35 points with 14 rebounds, and Kevin Love made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 37.9 seconds left in overtime to lift Cleveland to a 115-112 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. The Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak, rallying from a 13-point third-quarter deficit.
Beilein said earlier Thursday that he’d apologized for his comments during a film session the previous day. ESPN.com, citing unidentified sources, reported that Beilein suggested during a Wednesday film session his players were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.” Beilein said he meant to say “slugs” in reference to the team’s effort level.
Although Beilein said the response to his explanation and apology had been positive, it was anyone’s guess how the Cavaliers would play.
“We motivate each other, at the end of the day — especially myself and Kev,” Thompson said. “It’s on us to motivate our teammates. Coach’s job is to give us the scout and the game plan, but we don’t need no coaches at all to motivate us. Us as players, we motivate each other.”
With the score tied at 110, Love got open in the left corner and connected from long range to put the Cavaliers ahead to stay. Thompson got free for a dunk with 16.7 seconds remaining to push the lead to five.
Detroit had one last chance after forcing a turnover, but Derrick Rose missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Rose also missed a jumper at the end of regulation that could have won it.
Andre Drummond had 28 points and 23 rebounds for Detroit. The Pistons are without star forward Blake Griffin, who had surgery on his left knee.
The Cavaliers rallied from their double-digit deficit and took a brief lead at 91-90 in the fourth.