AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Lawrence Frank doesn’t want his Detroit Pistons to gorge themselves on devouring opponents’ shots.
The Pistons had a season-high 13 blocks in their 89-79 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, but their coach would rather see his defenders keep their man out of the lane.
“It’s like a chocoholic,” he said. “If you keep on going back, eventually you become a glutton for eating too much chocolate. We just don’t want to rely on that. We have to continue to be more solid guarding the basketball.”
With his team starving for victories, Frank can’t get too picky. The Pistons snapped a two-game losing streak, as Brandon Knight scored 17 points and Tayshaun Prince and Kyle Singler supplied 15 apiece. Jason Maxiell added 12 points, six rebounds and a team-high five blocks while surpassing 2,000 rebounds for his career as Detroit won its fifth straight at home.
Rookie center Andre Drummond, who had three blocks, credited Maxiell with setting the tone.
“It started off with Jason Maxiell,” said Drummond, who had nine of his 12 rebounds at the offensive end. “He got the whole flow of the game going with some of the blocked shots he had and his strong presence around the rim. Just watching him got me going, too.”
Anderson Varejao finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds for Cleveland, his ninth straight double-double. The Cavs trailed by as many as 22 points and were down by double digits most of the game.
Cleveland played without its starting backcourt. Shooting guard Dion Waiters, the NBA’s second-highest-scoring rookie at 15.2 points per game, missed the game because of a left ankle sprain. Waiters joined point guard Kyrie Irving (fractured finger) on the sideline.
“In the second half, we did not fold when we had a chance to,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “We kept fighting, but we just didn’t have enough offensive firepower to get the job done tonight.”
Behind by 20 midway through the third, Cleveland reeled off eight unanswered points. Tyler Zeller’s baseline shot in the final minute of the quarter pulled the Cavs within 73-63, but Rodney Stuckey’s layup made it a 12-point spread entering the final quarter.
Cleveland went scoreless in the first 3:45 of the fourth before making a comeback. A 7-0 spurt pulled the Cavs within nine, and when Varejao made a layup with 3:31 remaining, Detroit’s lead was down to 83-76. The Pistons (6-13) steadied themselves at that point and didn’t allow Cleveland (4-14) to get closer than six.
“I do not want to make any excuses,” Cavs guard Daniel Gibson said of his team being shorthanded. “We just did not come out with the right focus, and we did not play the way we needed to play in order to keep the game close.”
Singler, who was averaging 13 points in his last five games, took advantage of Waiters’ absence and scored 13 in the first half as the Pistons rolled to a 56-39 halftime lead.
Singler scored seven consecutive Detroit points in the first quarter on a transition pull-up, a baseline shot and a 3-pointer. That gave the Pistons their biggest lead of the quarter, 27-13.
Detroit made seven blocks in the quarter, three by Maxiell, who has 13 blocks in his last three games.
“You would never know how tall Jason Maxiell is because of how hard he plays,” Drummond said. “He may be 6-5, 6-6 — he calls himself 6-8 — but he plays like he’s 7 feet. That’s what it boils down to, he plays as hard as he can every single play.”
Singler also made a 3-pointer early in the second quarter to maintain the 14-point advantage. When Knight converted a scoop shot, the Pistons’ lead was up to 20, 45-25. Stuckey’s layup gave Detroit its biggest lead of the quarter at 49-27.
NOTES: Scott said Waiters might play against Chicago on Wednesday. … Detroit’s 30 first-quarter points were a season high. … Knight averaged 22.8 points and 5.3 assists in four games against Cleveland last season. … Cleveland has grabbed more offensive rebounds than its opponent in 17 of 18 games, winning that category 20-15 on Monday. … Singler was poked in the right eye by Varejao during the third quarter but returned late in the game.