AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Brandon Knight could tell the Detroit Pistons needed a little boost after the trade earlier this week that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis.
"Guys lost friends that day," Knight said. "Guys were thinking how the future will be. There's a lot of emotions there."
Two days after the deal, Knight and the Pistons were sharp Friday night in a 117-99 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Knight had 20 points and 10 assists for Detroit, and Greg Monroe added 18 points and 16 rebounds.
The Pistons never trailed, despite playing without Jose Calderon — the man they acquired from Toronto in Wednesday's three-team deal. The Spanish-born point guard was unavailable to play because of visa issues.
Knight, also a point guard, might play off the ball more once Calderon is in the lineup.
"Great player — done a lot of good things over his career, and definitely a big help for us coming in," Knight said. "We'll get used to playing with one another and see how it works out."
Knight was a lottery pick two years ago, so Calderon's arrival won't necessarily mean a reduced role for the 6-foot-3 guard. He may be asked to become more of a scorer, though.
He made his first four shots Friday, and the Pistons opened an early 21-11 lead on a dunk by Monroe. Cleveland shot only 22 percent from the field in the first quarter. The Cavaliers finished at 40 percent.
Knight more than held his own against Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft — when Knight was taken eighth by Detroit.
"We came out soft, and we played that way for the whole game. I take full responsibility for that, because I didn't play with energy, and that trickles down to the rest of the team," Irving said. "I let things that happened in the game bother me, and I got disinterested and let the game get away from me. I can promise that won't ever happen again."
Tristan Thompson led Cleveland with 19 points.
Continue reading this story on the...