Don’t ask Maurice Cheeks why his team is so successful away from home. The Detroit Pistons coach can’t explain it.
“I don’t have any theories why that is,” he said. “I just don’t know.”
Josh Smith scored 25 points, Brandon Jennings added 21 and the Pistons continued their dominant play on the road with a 115-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
The Pistons have won seven of their last eight away from home, including victories against defending NBA champion Miami and Indiana, which has the best record in the Eastern Conference.
While Cheeks can’t come up with a reason, reserve guard Chauncey Billups, a veteran of 17 seasons, managed to put his finger on something.
“On the road, all we have is us,” he said. “We know we have to stick together when their crowds get going and they go on runs.”
The Pistons went on plenty of runs in their latest road success. Detroit went ahead for good midway through the first quarter and built a 21-point lead late in the first half. The margin reached 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Pistons rolled to their biggest win of the season.
Jennings also had 13 assists for Detroit, which placed seven players in double figures.
Kyrie Irving scored 21 points for Cleveland, which has lost four of five.
“We got our butts handed to us tonight,” Cavs forward Tristan Thompson said.
The Cavaliers had shown signs of progress earlier this month, winning three straight and five of six. Cleveland has struggled since, dropping close games to Miami and Portland and losing by 16 points to a short-handed Chicago team on Saturday.
“Our sense of urgency the last two ballgames has been non-existent,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.
Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum was scoreless in 22 minutes, missing all 11 shots from the field and getting seven rebounds.
Detroit is 6-10 on its own court and was coming off home losses to Charlotte and Houston, but took control early. Smith scored 10 points in the first quarter when Detroit shot 56 percent.