J.J. Hickson and Anthony Parker combined for 20 points in the decisive third quarter and Cleveland beat Detroit 104-79 on Sunday to give the Cavaliers their first season sweep of the Pistons in 30 years.
Cleveland held a double-digit lead most of the game, although the Pistons cut it to 55-47 on a basket by Jonas Jerebko with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Hickson and Parker took charge, combining to score 16 of Cleveland's next 19 points while Detroit went more than five minutes without a field goal.
Hickson finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, Parker had 11 points and LeBron James had 15 points and seven assists while sitting out the fourth quarter. Leon Powe and Delonte West scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, off the bench.
Cleveland has won 10 straight against Detroit, including last season's first-round sweep in the playoffs. Cleveland hadn't swept Detroit during a regular season since going 6-0 against the Pistons during the 1979-80 season.
The Cavaliers are 12-1 since Shaquille O'Neal's thumb injury left them without a true center on the roster. While Hickson has filled in admirably, that may soon change. Cleveland could have Zydrunas Ilgauskas back in time for its next game Wednesday at New Orleans.
Ilgauskas was dealt to Washington at the trade deadline as part of a three-team deal that brought Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair to Cleveland. Ilgauskas' contract was subsequently bought out, allowing him to re-sign with Cleveland as early as Monday.
On Sunday morning, the Cavaliers quietly hoisted a banner celebrating this season's second consecutive Central Division championship. Cleveland was the first team this season to clinch a division. Much like last year, no announcement or formal ceremony was held to celebrate the third division title in franchise history.
Notes: Cleveland outrebounded Detroit in the first half 23-11. The Cavs had as many offensive rebounds (11) as the Pistons had in the half. ... James was honored before the game for becoming the youngest player to reach 15,000 points in his career (25 years, 79 days). He surpassed Kobe Bryant (27 years, 136 days) on Friday. ... Darnell Jackson was recalled from the NBA Development League after spending one day with the Erie BayHawks. ... Detroit's Ben Wallace missed the game after injuring both knees in a loss Friday to the Pacers. ... Rodney Stuckey returned to Cleveland after collapsing on the court there during a timeout on March 5. Sunday was his second game back.
Source: AP News