AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- LeBron James soared through the air and did a double-pump dunk that included a shot to his head that pushed his headband off his forehead.
"And one!" James shouted at the officials, pleading for a foul.
No, James doesn't always get superstar calls.
Isn't getting hit in the head a foul?
"I guess not," James said.
James' strong start gave the Cavs a nine-point lead to start the second quarter. Reserve Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams combined to score 18 points to put them ahead by 18 at halftime.
"Daniel and Mo did an incredible job of hitting shots in the second quarter," James said.
When the Pistons pulled within 10 midway through the fourth quarter, James responded with a 3-pointer and his highlight-worthy dunk that included contact from Detroit's Austin Daye.
Detroit cut its deficit to eight points with 4:15 left and James made plays at both ends of the court to give the Cavs another double-digit lead.
The Pistons, though, would not go away easily.
Ben Wallace made a free throw with 1:13 to go to make it 93-88.
"It's good to get tested once in a while," James said.
James made two free throws and Detroit's Charlie Villanueva stepped out of bounds on the ensuing possessions, sealing Cleveland's third straight win.
"LeBron closes games for us by attacking the basket, and that's what he did," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "They were physical with him and he didn't get all the calls, but he kept attacking."
Detroit's first-year coach John Kuester was asked before the game if it helped him prepare his team to face James because he used to be one of his assistant coaches in Cleveland.
"The only thing that is good about knowing him is being able to say 'Hi,' to him," Kuester said. "I think he would drive hard on his mom. It doesn't matter who he's playing against, he's that type of competitor."
Rodney Stuckey scored 25 and Villanueva had 19 points for the banged-up Pistons. Ben Gordon sprained his left ankle in the first half and did not play the rest of the game.
Gordon said, "I have no idea," when asked about the severity of the injury.
Detroit has had Richard Hamilton (right ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back) on the court for a combined four games this season and neither seems close to being healthy enough to play.
"Man, it seems like injuries have been a factor all season," Villanueva said. "We can't get a break."
Cleveland center Shaquille O'Neal missed his sixth straight game with a shoulder injury and Brown said he would decide Friday, when the Cavs are at Charlotte, if he will return.
O'Neal tried to remove any doubt about his status for the next game.
"I'm playing," he said.
The Central Division-leading Cavs have found a groove without O'Neal, winning eight of their last nine games after a .500 start.
Williams finished with 14 points, Gibson and Anthony Parker each scored 13 and reserve Jamario Moon added 11.
James was 12 of 24, grabbed eight rebounds and made seven assists.
"I thought we had gotten some solid offensive production in the first half, especially from the bench," Brown said. "Those guys did a nice job, and Bron was Bron. His numbers are amazing, but remarkable thing is that it looks so easy for him."
Reserve Jason Maxiell had 10 points for the Pistons, who have lost six straight, and Daye scored nine.
Wallace, who played for the Cavs last season, had eight points and nine rebounds.
"Thank God for Ben," Kuester said. "He's been such a bright spot."
The new-look Pistons are being forced to play rookies Daye, Jonas Jerebko and DaJuan Summers more than expected because of injuries.
"This is when Jonas, DaJuan and Austin find out this isn't the summer league," Kuester said.