With 3.2 seconds remaining and Detroit leading 96-95, Cleveland's Luol Deng inbounded from the right sideline. Waiters broke towards the ball in the right corner, catching the pass as Detroit's Rodney Stuckey closed out on him. Using one dribble to create some breathing room, Waiters let loose a little shoulder-shake before squaring up for a step-back jumper from just inside the arc.
The 22-year-old Waiters released his shot with less than a second left, and the ball swished through after the buzzer sounded. Jarrett Jack and other members of the Cavaliers quickly mobbed Waiters as he raced into the backcourt to celebrate his heroics.
Dion Waiters (right) pulls up for the game-winning jumper. (Allen Einstein/Getty Images)
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Waiters' decision on the final play came as a bit of a surprise to coach Mike Brown.
[Mike Brown] told Dion Waiters to drive toward the basket. Don't shoot. Drive.
"That shows how much he listens to me," Brown said, rolling his eyes in mock exasperation.
"He didn't tell me to drive," Waiters scoffed. "He said if I got a shot, shoot it. He didn't tell me to drive."
Waiters, a 2012 lottery pick, finished with 18 points (on 8-for-20 shooting), four rebounds and four assists. Matthew Dellavedova led Cleveland with a team-high 21 points (on 7-for-9 shooting), six assists and three rebounds.
Josh Smith scored a game-high 24 points (on 11-for-23 shooting) and added eight rebounds and six assists in the loss. Kyle Singler chipped in 18 points (on 7-for-11 shooting), three rebounds and two assists for Detroit.
The Cavaliers improved to 29-44 with their third straight victory. The Pistons dropped to 26-45 with the loss.