(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to avoid a third straight loss and keep their fading playoff hopes alive when they host their Central rival Detroit Pistons Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavaliers are 3 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with four to go, and it seems unlikely they will punch a ticket to the postseason. The Cavs have lost two in a row since winning five of six games, and dropped a 96-94 overtime decision versus Charlotte on Saturday.
A career-high 44 points on 16-of-31 shooting by Kyrie Irving wasn't enough for the Cavaliers and they were outscored 14-12 in the extra period. The Cavs trailed by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter and had a 31-14 scoring advantage in the final stanza. They closed regulation on a 10-0 run.
"As big of a game as it was for me, I would trade all of it for a win," Irving told the team's website. "This was probably one of the biggest games of my career thus far, just the magnitude of it and how much it meant to all of us, so to lose like that hurts."
Irving has five career games of 40 points or more, including three this season.
The eight overtime games match the team record for most in a single season (1989-90).
Dion Waiters continued to start and posted 14 points, while Tristan Thompson grabbed 12 rebounds in the loss. Waiters is averaging 21.7 points in his last 11 games -- all starts -- and has seven 20-point efforts in the last 10 games.
Meanwhile, Detroit put a wrench in Atlanta's postseason plans with Tuesday's 102-95 victory in the opener of a three-game road trip at Philips Arena.
Playing without forward Josh Smith (knee) and guard Will Bynum (foot), the Pistons were led by Rodney Stuckey's 29 points. Greg Monroe had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Andre Drummond posted a double-double of his own, compiling 19 points to go along with 17 boards.
"I thought right from the opening tip we had the right intent," said Pistons interim head coach John Loyer.
Drummond is second in the NBA and first in the East with 53 double-doubles, and is averaging 16.8 points and 17.0 rebounds in the last five games.
The Pistons had a 53-48 advantage on the glass and won their second straight game. They are just 4-10 in the past 14 games and halted a three-game slide on the road.
Detroit is 12-26 on the season away from home and will close the trip Friday at Chicago, another member of the Central Division. The Cavs have won four straight against division foes and are 2-1 against Detroit this season.
The Pistons have won their last four trips to the Q.