Cunningham's late free throws lead Pistons over Cavaliers

Cade Cunningham hit four free throws in the final 46 seconds to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 106-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night in the teams' return from the All-Star break.

Lauri Markkanen split two free throws to put the Cavaliers up 103-102 with 1:01 to play before Cunningham made a pair to put Detroit back in front.

Jarrett Allen turned the ball over and Cunningham hit two more free throws to make it 106-103 with 28.3 seconds left.

Cleveland got three shots at a 3-pointer on the final possession, including a wide-open Brandon Goodwin look at the buzzer that rattled off the rim.

Hamidou Diallo led Detroit with 21 points and Cunningham added 17.

Markkanen scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and Goodwin added 15 for Cleveland.

The Cavaliers were without guards Darius Garland (back) and Caris LeVert (foot), but got Markkanen (ankle) back after 11 games.

The Cavaliers threatened to pull away in the first half, but missed eight free throws on their way to a 55-52 advantage. Detroit took the lead early in the third, but the Cavaliers came back with an 11-2 run to force Pistons coach Dwane Casey into a timeout.

Jeremi Grant’s 3-pointer finished off a 10-1 run to start the fourth quarter, giving Detroit a 90-83 lead with 9:12 to play. Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff called a timeout after the Pistons moved the advantage to eight points, but Rodney McGruder’s 3-pointer made it an 11-point game.

Markkanen’s fourth-quarter offense helped Cleveland cut the deficit to 102-99 with 2:34 left and, after a Mobley block, Isaac Okoro tied it with a 3-pointer.


Cavaliers: Cleveland announced plans to open a year-round sportsbook inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The team announced a multiyear partnership with Caesars Entertainment to run the 10,000-foot gambling establishment, which is scheduled to open later this year.

Pistons: McGruder took four shots, all 3-pointers, and made all of them, giving him 12 points in 16 minutes.


Cavaliers: Host the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

Pistons: Host the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 24: Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket against Jarrett Allen #31 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Little Caesars Arena on February 24, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USE