Cavs should be able to cruise Monday at DET to kick off key week

Cleveland Cavaliers guards Collin Sexton (left) and Darius Garland celebrate in-game. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers guards Collin Sexton (left) and Darius Garland celebrate in-game. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had two rough losses in their past two outings against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, a game where Golden State’s pace seemed to be the difference ultimately.

Then on Saturday in Chicago, although Zach LaVine was out for the Bulls (COVID-19 protocols), the Cavs just couldn’t get it going nearly enough when they needed to in the second half.

Darius Garland, who had 22 points and tied a career-high 12 assists in that one, played well for the most part, and Cleveland did have their spurts, cutting the game to a three-point affair in the closing moments. But then Chicago pulled away from 2:30 or so on, and the Cavaliers losing that one by 10 was a head-scratcher.

For Cleveland, though, they are still relatively in the hunt for a play-in berth, as they are still just 3.0 games back of the Toronto Raptors, who are currently in that #10 seed. The Bulls and Washington Wizards have nearly identical winning percentages at this point with Toronto, for what it’s worth; the Cavs are still somewhat in the hunt, though.

Albeit for the Cavaliers to potentially be firmly in that mix, they’ll need to do well this week. Fortunately, during this week ahead, they should have their chances.

And Monday’s game at the Detroit Pistons should be a nice way for them to get things going again, too.

The Cavs should set to cruise at Detroit on Monday to kick off a key week for them.

Cutting to the chase here, the Pistons are one of the league’s worst clubs overall with a bottom three record, and Detroit looks to be well in on the tank. I frankly can’t them, either, and it’s not as if the Cavs are a great team; I’m not saying they are.

Cleveland has had some encouraging outings in recent weeks, though, and they are getting healthier.

Now, there’s been inconsistencies with the Cavaliers getting guys back, but in a general sense, in this one, they should cruise. Although Detroit does have some intriguing young pieces such as Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Saben Lee, for instance, and them having Killian Hayes back is a plus for them, they’re without a bunch of pieces on Monday.

Detroit’s leading scorer (22.4 points per outing) and a guy who looks to be an emerging star in Jerami Grant is out in this one, along with Mason Plumlee (rest) and veteran sniper Wayne Ellington (rest).

Plumlee’s absence should aid Cleveland’s driving threats to an extent, such as Garland and Collin Sexton, and Isaac Okoro, and that will aid Jarrett Allen/the rebounding efforts, to an extent. Granted, Stewart is an impact player in that realm, too, albeit Plumlee is a heady vet and smart rotator and tertiary playmaker.

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Guys such as Ellington being out because of rest for Detroit here and there, given their situation at this point in the season is just standard operating procedure anyhow.

But that should still frankly be a positive for Cleveland, as Ellington, while not a difference-maker per se, has hit 42.4 percent from three-point range this season, and helps space the floor.

Along with those aforementioned guys out, depth pieces in Cory Joseph (illness) and Sekou Doumbouya (concussion) won’t be in this Monday outing, either.

That should lead to better playmaking opportunities, I would imagine, for Matthew Dellavedova in spurts, and I could foresee Taurean Prince, in a general sense really with how he’s been hot as a shooter lately, have a big game once again.

Prince has had 14.0 points per outing in his past seven games, and has hit 50.0 percent of his three-point attempts in 24.0 minutes per appearance.

He looks to be getting his rhythm back after having been banged up, particularly regarding an ankle sprain, and I’d expect him to get to his preferred spots for side step/pull-back looks in this Detroit game, too.

Moreover, with the Cleveland Cavaliers looking to get themselves back on track here, and with Detroit being without a number of key pieces, and realistically in the tank, the Cavs, who’ve won both of their prior matchups versus the Pistons this season, should cruise.

And from Cleveland’s standpoint, if they do so here, perhaps they could gain some momentum to kick off their week, in which they’ll have the Bulls again on Wednesday, to go with being at the Charlotte Hornets again on Friday. They beat Charlotte last week, who is desperately missing LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward.

From there, we’ll have to see how their game at the Wizards on Sunday shakes out.

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Rest assured, though, Monday should be a get-right outing for the Wine and Gold.