CLEVELAND – – All-Star point guard Darius Garland had 24 points and 12 assists, Evan Mobley earned his 20th double-double as an NBA rookie and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Detroit Pistons 113-109 on Saturday night .
Mobley finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Cedi Osman scored 16 points and Kevin Love had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who earned their 41st victory to clinch their first undefeated season in four years.
“And we have a lot of games left and a lot more opportunities ahead of us,” Cleveland coach JB Bickerstaff said. “The fans are always engaged here and you can feel the tide rolling over the building, which is why I think it’s one of the best arenas in the league.”
The Cavaliers extended their lead to 1 1/2 games against Toronto for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They trailed 80-68 in the third quarter but beat Detroit 31-9 in the next 9:18 to take command and win for the 18th time in their last 23 home games.
Cleveland completed a straight set after overcoming a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and beating Denver 119-116 in overtime on Friday.
“We’re pretty tired from last night, but we had to do what we could to get the win,” Mobley said. “We really dug deep, and Kevin Love and Cedi got us on board.”
Jerami Grant scored 27 of his season-high 40 points in the first half and first draft pick Cade Cunningham added 15 points and 10 assists for Detroit. Saddiq Bey had 20 points, following his career-high 51 in Orlando two days earlier.
The Pistons have lost five of six and have the second-worst record in the East at 19-52.
“I felt it, but it really didn’t mean anything because we didn’t get the win,” Grant said. “Once Kevin Love got hot, they had a lot of confidence and you could feel it. Honestly, I live for games like this because it reminds me of the playoff environment.
The Cavaliers are 3-1 on their longest home run of the season, a five-man game that ends Monday against LeBron James and the Lakers. All-Star center Jarrett Allen missed his seventh straight game with a broken finger in his left hand.
A dunk from Marvin Bagley III gave the Pistons the biggest lead of the game at 80-68, but Love drained three runs to 3 in a 14-1 push to end the quarter and put Cleveland ahead.
Grant was 6 of 7 on 3-pointers as Detroit built a 60-55 advantage in the first half. The Pistons used a 14-0 run, with six players scoring, midway through the second quarter to erase Cleveland’s 36-27 lead.
“There was a playoff feel, a playoff vibe and it was good for evaluating our young guys,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “This team were playing desperately and we weren’t, but there were a lot of positives to take from this game.”
Cunningham, Mobley and Raptors F Scottie Barnes are the top contenders for the Rookie of the Year award. Thunder G Josh Giddey, Rockets G Jalen Green and Magic F Franz Wagner are also in the top group of a very deep group.
“It’s going to be one of the top three or four draft classes of all time,” Bickerstaff said. “There are so many guys who can play at a high level and play the game more mature than their age.”
Casey views the class the same way, saying, “It’s been a while since we’ve seen a band like this. You could plead every player’s case, but I’m very biased towards Cade.
Pistons: G Killian Hayes (head contusion) was not in uniform after being injured Thursday in Orlando. … G Frank Jackson (lumbar spine spasm), G Hamidou Diallo (left finger sprain) and bi-directional G Chris Smith (left knee sprain) were not available. … C Luka Garza is on a mission in the G League with Motor City Cruise. … Detroit has a three-game winning streak at home against Cleveland.
Cavaliers: G Rajon Rondo (sprained right ankle) practiced on court late in the afternoon but was inactive for the fourth game in a row. … F Dean Wade (right knee pain) hasn’t played since March 12 in Chicago. … Cleveland went to overtime twice in three games, beating the Clippers and Nuggets, after not going over regulation in their first 67 games.
Pistons: Host the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Cavaliers: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.