The Cavaliers are showing that they have pride and that playing out the string does not mean that a team just goes through the motions at the end of a season.
After falling behind by ten points in Detroit last night after the first quarter, Cleveland could have just mailed it in, but the Cavs fought back to get within one at the half, took a nice lead by the end of the third quarter and held off the Pistons 110-101, in a contest marred by an altercation between the Pistons' Charlie Villanueva and Cleveland's Ryan Hollins in the fourth quarter that had Villanueva scurrying about a loading dock trying to make his way to the Cavs' locker room and police forestalling him.
Daniel Gibson had an unusual five-point play as part of a 16-3 run spanning the third and fourth periods to put Cleveland in control. Gibson sank a three, was fouled and made the free throw, and then added a technical-foul free throw.
Six Cavaliers scored in double figures, and four of those six did their damage off the bench. J.J. Hickson had 20 and Alonzo Gee 16 as starters, while Gibson, Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga combined for 49 off the pines.
Hollins scored twelve before being ejected along with Villanueva, in a confrontation which seemed to stem from something that Hollins said to Villanueva. The two tangled with 5:47 left, and after being separated, Villanueva had to be restrained by Rodney Stuckey and security as well as by a Pistons' assistant. After Villanueva went to the Detroit locker room, he later sprinted out and headed for the Cleveland digs, where he was stopped on a loading dock by the police.
According to the story on Yahoo! Sports, Villanueva made the following statement after things had calmed down:
"You’ve got to be careful with the quiet ones, right?" Villanueva said after the game. "At the end of the day, that’s something that happened on the court. It should stay on the court. I overreacted. He said some things that kind of got me upset."
With the win, the Cavaliers passed the Minnesota Timberwolves in wins with 18, with each team having one game left. The Cavaliers entertain Washington on Wednesday while Minnesota -- which lost last night in overtime at Phoenix -- plays their final game tomorrow against Houston at home.
It is looking good -- or bad -- for the Cavs to not be the first team in history to go from first-to-worst, or tied for worst. I guess that some might say that winning when you have a chance for the most shots in the lottery is a bad thing, but I say that pride goes further and says more about the character of a team that has no real shot than folding and hoping for a lucky draw.