After imploding like a dying star in last night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, in which the Cavs surrendered a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose 99-94, the Cavs get a chance to rebound against the Detroit Pistons tonight. Detroit, who has been flailing throughout the course of the second half of the season, enters the game at 26-52 and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games. They present some interesting matchups, but this is a game the Cavs can win.
Opponent’s Blog: Life on Dumars
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena
Tipoff: Wednesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Cavaliers by -1
Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio
Where you can listen: WTAM (AM 1100)
The Cavaliers have not had much success against Detroit this season, much like their performance against the rest of the Central Division. The Pistons hold a 3-0 edge in the season series, winning 89-79 on Dec. 3, 104-97 on Dec. 8 and 117-99 on Feb. 1. In the most recent contest, the Cavs got blown out. The Pistons shot 54 percent from the field, the Cavs fouled the Pistons 33 times and Brandon Knight torched the Cavs for 20 points, six rebounds and 10 assists, as Detroit jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Rodney Stuckey also had 20 points for the Pistons, while Greg Monroe did some work on the glass for 18 points, 16 rebounds and four assists to boot. Tristan Thompson carried the Cavs with 19 points and nine assists, but Kyrie Irving had an off night, and the Cavs couldn’t stop anyone on the Pistons.
However, a lot has changed since this game. This was before the Jose Calderon trade, before Andre Drummond and Dion Waiters got hurt and before both teams shifted into tanking mode. The Pistons were 18-29 at this point, and had just acquired Jose Calderon. For this game, it’s going to probably be an ugly one, as the Pistons as of late have become a shell of themselves on both ends of the floor. The offensive efficiency jump they experienced immediately after acquiring Calderon has gone away, and defensively they haven’t been the same even with Drummond back. While the Cavs certainly haven’t been great in their own right, the Pistons have joined the Suns in a race for the most depressing team in the league to watch. Both teams will also have a vested interest in losing this game, as the Pistons are currently only 1.5 games behind Cleveland for the fourth-best draft lottery position. As sad as it is to say, don’t be surprised if both teams pull out all the stops to lose this game.
As far as the matchups go, the key for the Cavs is going to be Kyrie Irving. Irving is going to spend the game being matched up with the Pistons point guards, who are at this point up in the air. Will Bynum has already been ruled out and Knight and Calderon are listed as day-to-day, and no word is out on whether either will play. If the Cavs get lucky and one or both of these guys is out, that will be a huge advantage for Cleveland because neither is a good defender, and Irving should be able to score at will on either point guard playing extended minutes. The Zeller/Drummond battle is going to be interesting down low as well. Andre Drummond is great defensively. Tyler Zeller is decent offensively. Neither can play well on the other side of the ball. This will make things interesting when the Cavs have the ball because if Zeller can get going from midrange again, it will pull Drummond, a great rim protector, away from the basket, which Zeller was able to do last night with Roy Hibbert. If these two can get in a flow with the pick-and-pop game, and Tristan Thomspon does well against Greg Monroe on the glass, the Cavs should have no problem frustrating the Pistons and grabbing a win.