The Detroit Pistons fought until the very end of a close encounter with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but their efforts proved futile as the number one seed in the east left the Quicken Loans Arena with a 106-101 win.
The visitors held a slender lead heading into the final quarter and tensions were high as the Motor City franchise looked to claim a victory in their first playoff game since 2009, when they were swept by last night's opponents.
With under four minutes remaining in the quarter and the Pistons trailing by four, Reggie Jackson let his emotions get the better of him after there was no foul called on his layup attempt. The point guard argued the non-call with officials and was waved for a technical.
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Kyrie Irving made the shot and the Cavaliers saw out the game. Following the encounter, Pistons head coach Stan van Gundy spoke to the media about the technical and emphasised the importance of not giving up any free points against a team like Cleveland.
A reporter asked the coach if he felt the call came at a bad time, to which he responded, as per ESPN: "That's a statement -- not a question. And correct."
Before continuing moments later: "I think [Jackson] knows the message. You cannot, cannot get a technical foul. Understand you're frustrated, and you think you got fouled -- whatever, doesn't matter.
"First of all, we can't give them away, even in the first quarter. We don't have the margin for error against this team to get those, but certainly not at that point in the game.
"One point's huge. You just -- it can't be done. He knows that. I'm sure if you ask him, he'll tell you. I haven't talked to him since the incident. I'm sure he'd tell you the same thing.
"You can't get that. You're angry at the referee, and so because I'm mad at the referee, the way I'll show my anger is give the Cavaliers a point. It doesn't make sense."
"We can't give them away, even in the first quarter. We don't have the margin for error against this team to get those, but certainly not at that point in the game."
The Pistons proved they are a worthy matchup for the Cavaliers and, on another night, may have left the arena with more to show for their efforts.
Having shot over 60 percent as a collective unit in the first half, Detroit were limited after the interval and Cleveland's improvement was evident. Marcus Morris, who had dropped 19 in the opening 24 minutes, could only manage one more point.
The home team improved at the other end too. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were locked in and, as usual, LeBron James was leading the side to victory.
Game two will take place on Thursday at 1:00 am.