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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Daniel Gibson scored 17 points, including a five-point play late in the third quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Detroit Pistons 110-101 on Monday night in a testy game in which Charlie Villanueva and Ryan Hollins were ejected.
Villanueva became entangled with the Cavaliers’ Hollins with 5:47 remaining in the game. They wrapped each other up and appeared to push each other in the face before being separated. Both were ejected, and Villanueva had to be restrained as he headed off.
Later, Villanueva came out of the Pistons’ locker room and sprinted toward Cleveland’s locker room, but was stopped by police on a loading dock.
Gibson’s rare trip down floor came when he made a 3-pointer in the third quarter and added two free throws — one for a personal foul by Richard Hamilton on the shot, and another for a technical that Hamilton picked up disputing the call.
J.J. Hickson had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have won three of five.
The Cavaliers (18-63) momentarily moved ahead of Minnesota in the race to avoid the NBA’s worst record — a surprising accomplishment considering Cleveland’s record 26-game losing streak earlier in the season.
Minnesota (17-63) had lost 13 straight heading into a game at Phoenix later Monday night.
Ramon Sessions scored 17 points for Cleveland, and Alonzo Gee added 16.
The Cavaliers trailed by as many as 11, but they took control with a 16-3 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth.
Gibson started that run with his unusual five-point play with 3:07 left in the third, and Cleveland led 90-75 early in the fourth.
Later, Villanueva and Hollins squared off after Villanueva appeared to be trying to set a pick. The scene didn’t quite escalate to the level of the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl of 2004, but as the players were being ejected, the crowd started chanting “Charlie!”
Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 29 points, and Chris Wilcox added 16.
Tom Gores, who reached an agreement last week to buy the Pistons, was in the crowd, but the Pistons didn’t make the greatest impression in what was their home finale.
Notes: Detroit shot 51 percent from the field but turned the ball over 16 times to Cleveland’s six. ... Gores did a little dance on the big screen during the game and drew a nice ovation.