CLEVELAND- Collin Sexton scored 27 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons 126-119 on Monday night.
Both teams were missing star players. Blake Griffin (rest) sat out for Detroit, while Kevin Love was out with a sore back for Cleveland after taking a hard fall in Saturday’s loss to Dallas.
Andre Drummond nearly made up for Griffin’s absence with 21 points and 21 rebounds, but the Cavaliers hit clutch shots down the stretch against a Pistons team that is fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Sexton’s 3-pointer gave Cleveland a 115-114 lead with 1:54 left. Following a missed shot, Cedi Osman hit another 3 with 1:24 to play, putting the Cavaliers up 118-114.
Detroit’s Reggie Jackson missed a 3 before Sexton knocked down another shot from behind the arc with 39 seconds left to make it 121-114.
Cleveland placed seven players in double figures, including Osman with 21 points and Nik Stauskas with 17.
Drummond has had 12 games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds this season.
Wayne Ellington hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 25 points for the Pistons (36-34), who are sixth in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of Brooklyn and 2 1/2 in front of Miami.
Detroit coach Dwane Casey is monitoring Griffin’s workload as the Pistons begin a five-game road trip that will take them to the West Coast. Griffin scored 25 points in 33 minutes during Sunday’s win over Toronto.
Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said Love was still sore Monday and didn’t participate in the team’s morning shootaround. Love has played in 12 games since returning from foot surgery,
Detroit routed Cleveland 129-93 on March 2 in the previous meeting between the teams. Griffin scored 14 points while Love sat out because the Cavs were playing on back-to-back nights.
Drummond has 33 games of at least 15 points and 15 rebounds this season, setting the franchise record previously held by Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, who did it 32 times in 1972-73.
Pistons: Jackson scored 15 points. Langston Galloway and Ish Smith each had 13. … F Thon Maker started in Griffin’s spot and had seven points with nine rebounds.
Cavaliers: Brandon Knight scored 16 points. Marquese Chriss had 10 points and 10 rebounds. … F Larry Nance Jr. (bruised rib), G Matthew Dellavedova (concussion), C John Henson (right wrist) and F Tristan Thompson (sore left foot) remain out.
Pistons: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
Cavaliers: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.