PREVIEW: Detroit Pistons head to Cleveland seeking elusive winning streak

Jan 22, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Delon Wright (55) dribbles the ball during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After ending a frustrating four-game losing streak Monday, the Detroit Pistons will attempt to do something they haven’t accomplished since last January — win two in a row.

Following a 119-104 home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pistons travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

The most recent time Detroit won back-to-back games was at Boston on Jan. 15, 2020, and at Atlanta three nights later.

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The Pistons dropped four close games last week before their breakthrough against the Sixers, who were playing without All-Star center Joel Embiid. Detroit hopes to carry that momentum into its matchup against a Central Division rival.

“We want to make this our normal thing,” Pistons guard Delon Wright said. “We don’t want to celebrate a win; we want to continue to get wins. We have some veterans here who’ve been on good teams, so we know what it takes to get wins. We have a lot of young players. We want to make this a normal thing for them and build on it.”

Wright played one of the best games of his six-year career with a career-high 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Jerami Grant, who had a streak of 14 consecutive 20-plus point games snapped in the Pistons’ previous outing, had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

“I think our record doesn’t really show how we’ve been playing,” Grant said. “Some games we have mental lapses that kind of cost the game, but overall we’ve been playing well. We’ve been getting better.”

The first meeting with the Cavaliers on Dec. 26 was a case in point of how the Pistons have struggled to close out games. Cleveland scored the last eight points in regulation to force overtime, then erased a nine-point deficit in the first OT. The Cavaliers came away with a 128-119 double-overtime victory.

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Cleveland looks to end a two-game skid on Wednesday. The Cavaliers were blown out by the Celtics 141-103 on Sunday, then fell to LeBron James (46 points) and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 115-108 on Monday.

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff was upset with the officiating after the loss to the Lakers. Los Angeles attempted 28 free throws while Cleveland had 22.

“I think it was some momentum-changing calls that were made or weren’t made,” Bickerstaff said. “I think our guys showed up and gave the effort to deserve the respect that both teams should garner. (Monday), I don’t think that was the case. The Lakers are a hell of a basketball team, don’t get me wrong. They deserve everything they have coming. But our guys scrap and play hard and deserve the same.”

Andre Drummond, who has been the subject of trade rumors, led the Cavaliers with 25 points and 17 rebounds. He’s averaging a career-high 18.7 points.

“We were the team that we normally are,” Drummond said. “We were a scrappy team, we came out and played to the best of our ability. Obviously, they’re the best team in the league right now and the defending champs, but we gave them a run for their money.”

Drummond will face his former team for the second time. In Cleveland’s double-overtime win last month, Drummond scored 23 points despite a poor shooting night and added 16 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

–Field Level Media