CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers were as bad Monday as the Browns were Sunday.
Mike Brown’s club didn’t play smart, didn’t play hard and certainly didn’t play well against the below-average Detroit Pistons, who came into Quicken Loans Arena and steamrolled their way to a 115-92 victory in front of 19,215 booing fans.
It was Cleveland’s worst home loss since falling 125-90 to San Antonio on April 3, 2012.
“When you don’t do what Coach says, or do it the way he feels is the way to win, we’re going to get our butt handed to us,” Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson said.
That part of the anatomy was not only handed to the Cavs (10-17), the Pistons (14-16) served it up on a Wine & Gold platter.
Detroit led by 10 after one, by 18 at the half, by 25 after three and by 28 early in the fourth period, which turned into serious garbage time for the likes of Tyler Zeller (13 points, 6-for-7 shooting), Anthony Bennett (seven meaningless points), Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev.
“All of us can see the mistakes we’re making defensively,” Brown said. “We can see on film our lack of physicality. Yet we continue to do it.”
No one played particularly well for the Cavs, but Andrew Bynum (0-for-11) and Jarrett Jack (0-for-6) set the bar so low while going scoreless that none of their teammates could get under it.
Not that some didn’t try.
Earl Clark, launching pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers like he was the second coming of Bingo Smith or Campy Russell, was 2-for-10 from the field. He launched a whopping eight 3-pointers in just 14 minutes, making two.
C.J. Miles, who played 20 minutes, was 2-for-9 overall and 1-for-6 on 3-pointers as the quick-trigger Cavs finished 8-for-28 from beyond the arc.
“We didn’t attack the rim,” Brown said. “We settled.”
Much more troubling was that after the Cavs settled, they barely attempted to stop the Pistons at the other end. Heck, sometimes they didn’t even get to the other end, Detroit scored so quickly.
Down 18 at the half, Cleveland scored the first eight points of the third period to get right back in the game, but then the roof caved in — even the extra story Bynum, Jack, Clark and Miles added to The Q.
Detroit repeatedly grabbed long rebounds or forced stupid Cleveland turnovers in the open court, then put on a dunking exhibition at the other end to go up 89-64 heading into the fourth period.
“We turned the ball over three or four straight times and their big guys got dunks,” Brown said. “Our guys aren’t even close (to them). We didn’t even attempt to run with them. That’s what I’m concerned about.”
Small forward Josh Smith led the Pistons with 25 points, 20 of those coming in the first half, while power forward Greg Monroe (11 points, 11 rebounds) and center Andre Drummond (14 points, 11 boards) added to Detroit’s 50-39 dominance on the boards.
None of those guys are particularly good shooters — Smith got unusually hot in the first half — but it didn’t matter, because the Cavs failed to keep them off the boards and out of the paint.
Having failed in those areas, they also didn’t send them to the line, where Drummond began the night shooting an NBA-worst .309.
“We’re just not following the game plan,” Thompson said. “Coach told us what we needed to do and we didn’t execute. It’s that simple.”
Point guard Brandon Jennings had 21 points and 13 assists for the Pistons, while Rodney Stuckey (14), Gigi Datome (13) and Kyle Singler (10) all scored in double figures off the bench.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 21 points and seven assists in 29 minutes, while Thompson had 17 points and six boards in 30 minutes.
“Our sense of urgency the last two games has been nonexistent,” Brown said, referring to a 100-84 loss in Chicago on Saturday.
The Cavs set the tone early against the Pistons, shooting a dismal .275 from the field in falling behind 58-40 at halftime.
Subtract Irving, who had 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting, and Matthew Dellavedova, who had eight on a 3-for-5 performance, and the Cavs had 13 points on 5-for-32 shooting in the first half.
Bynum (0-for-9), Miles (0-4), Bennett (0-3) and Jack (0-3) went a combined 0-for-19. Add Clark, who hoisted nothing but threes while going 1-for-5, and that “improves” to 1-for-24.
The Pistons, meanwhile, connected at a .537 clip in the first half. About the only way the Cavs slowed them down was by committing delay-of-game infractions, of which they had three in the first quarter alone, the latter two resulting in technical fouls.
“We’re getting hit in the mouth right now,” Brown said. “I’m interested to see if we can respond the right way as a group.”
Pistons 115, Cavaliers 92
DETROIT (115): Smith 10-18 3-3 25, Monroe 5-10 1-2 11, Drummond 7-10 0-2 14, Jennings 6-11 7-8 21, Caldwell-Pope 1-6 1-2 4, Stuckey 6-16 1-1 14, Singler 4-9 0-0 10, Billups 1-3 0-0 3, Datome 6-13 0-0 13, Harrellson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 46-96 13-18 115.
CLEVELAND (92): Gee 2-5 2-2 7, Thompson 6-10 5-9 17, A.Bynum 0-11 0-0 0, Irving 7-14 4-4 21, Miles 2-9 1-2 6, Bennett 3-7 1-2 7, Jack 0-6 0-0 0, Varejao 1-1 0-0 2, Dellavedova 4-6 1-2 10, Clark 2-10 0-0 6, Zeller 6-7 1-1 13, Karasev 0-0 0-0 0, Felix 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 34-88 16-24 92.
Detroit 28 30 31 26 — 115
Cleveland 18 22 24 28 — 92
3-Point Goals—Detroit 10-24 (Singler 2-2, Smith 2-5, Jennings 2-5, Stuckey 1-1, Caldwell-Pope 1-3, Billups 1-3, Datome 1-5), Cleveland 8-28 (Irving 3-6, Clark 2-8, Dellavedova 1-1, Gee 1-4, Miles 1-6, Bennett 0-1, Jack 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Detroit 64 (Drummond, Monroe 11), Cleveland 53 (A.Bynum 7). Assists—Detroit 27 (Jennings 13), Cleveland 20 (Irving 7). Total Fouls—Detroit 20, Cleveland 16. Technicals—Cleveland delay of game 2. Flagrant Fouls—Drummond. A—19,215 (20,562).
WHO: Cleveland vs. Atlanta
WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Q
TV/RADIO: FS Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM