NBA: Pistons’ Stuckey stable, to remain hospitalized after collapsing during game
CLEVELAND — Rodney Stuckey was walking over to give rookie Jonas Jerebko some advice Friday night when he started feeling dizzy and sat down.
Shortly after he asked for some water, he slumped unconscious into the arms of Pistons trainer Arnie Kander.
Stuckey was to remain overnight at the Cleveland Clinic after collapsing and being taken from the arena by ambulance during the third quarter of Cleveland’s 99-92 win over the Pistons.
“He is stable and that is good news,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “I think he is going to be OK.”
LeBron James had 40 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as the Cavaliers rallied from a 21-point deficit in the first half, but the game was overshadowed by the scary scene in the third quarter.
Pistons teammate Tayshaun Prince sat silent in his chair a few feet away with his head down, and the Cavaliers huddled together near their bench also with their heads bowed as Stuckey was being treated.
Both teams huddled again at midcourt following the game and prayed. Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry met Kuester as the Pistons left the floor after the game. The two walked to Detroit’s locker room with their arms around each other. Kuester spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach in Cleveland.
“He came over and told Arnie he was feeling dizzy,” Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva said. “He drank some water and the next thing you know, he passed out. It’s very scary. One minute, you think everything is OK, then the next second, it turns around so quick.”
The players were walking off the floor for a timeout with 2:30 left in the third quarter when Kuester got off the bench to meet them. He was going to say something to Jerebko when Stuckey stepped in.
“I loved that he took the initiative,” Kuester said. “As I was meeting with the coaches, all of a sudden I saw him leaning over with Arnie and before I knew it, he was on the ground.”
Stuckey, a second-year guard from Eastern Washington, had eight points and 10 assists before collapsing. He missed two games in 2008 with dizziness. It wasn’t immediately known if the incidents were related.
Kuester was shaken by the scene because of his past involvement in similar situations.
“It’s not pleasant to talk about,” Kuester said. “All that matters is he’s going to be OK.”
The Pistons struggled after Stuckey’s collapse. Detroit led 67-61 when he fell ill. Detroit scored just one basket the rest of the quarter.
“My mind came off the game, of course,” Jerebko said. “I don’t know if it changed the outcome.”
Prince had 23 points and Richard Hamilton added 20 for Detroit, which lost its sixth straight. The Pistons will head home to face Houston on Sunday. It’s not known when Stuckey will rejoin them.
Antawn Jamison’s 3-pointer to open the fourth gave Cleveland its first lead of the night. Jamison scored the game’s next five points, finishing with 17, as the Cavaliers took control. Anderson Varejao also had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Cleveland, which won its fifth straight over the Pistons.
James said he was watching a documentary Thursday on the 20th anniversary of the death of Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers, who died of a heart attack during a game in 1990.
“That’s the first thing I thought of,” James said. “I was just hoping, of course, that wasn’t the case. I’m happy Rodney’s doing OK. I know a lot of guys on that team. I know Ben (Wallace), of course. I’ve known Rip (Hamilton) and Tay (Prince).”
James had a huge block on Hamilton in the game’s opening minutes, swatting the shot into the first few rows behind the basket. He later triggered a first-half rally with a steal and dunk from a step inside the free-throw line.
Kwame Brown’s jumper with 7:46 left in the second quarter put Detroit up 49-28, but the Pistons made just three baskets the rest of the quarter as Cleveland began mounting its comeback.
It was the first time Cleveland rallied from such a large deficit since Nov. 11, 2006, when it rallied from a 25-point deficit to beat Boston.
Fans attending the game Friday set a world record for wearing a Snuggie for five minutes, becoming the largest gathering of people to wear fleece blankets.
“The Snuggies might have been part of the reason we were so comfortable and so lackadaisical to start the game,” James said. “You feel like you’re getting ready for bed. We might need to have Boot Night one day so we’re ready for combat. No more Snuggie Nights.”
NOTES: James became the franchise’s career leader in minutes played, surpassing Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who became the franchise leader earlier this season. ... Daniel Gibson remains away from the team. Singer Keyshia Cole, who is engaged to Gibson, gave birth to their son Tuesday. ... Delonte West was back on the floor after being inactive Wednesday at New Jersey. ... Wallace (right knee) missed his second straight game.