3 takeaways from Cleveland Cavaliers win over directionless Detroit Pistons

Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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In 1667, John Milton described Satan’s underworld in Paradise Lost as a place of “regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace and rest can never dwell; hope never comes.” His messaging applies to the situation of the Detroit Pistons, as well.

Friday’s matchup was a tune-up for the Cleveland Cavaliers, without Donovan Mitchell (knee) and Caris LeVert (right elbow sprain) at Little Caesars Arena against a squad 40 games below .500 (9-49).

Early on, six Cavaliers got involved, scoring on triples and rim runs . Darius Garland took over in the second period, hitting six of his seven 3-point shots over those 12 minutes. The decimation continued the rest of the evening, with the lead even swelling to 26 points during the fourth frame, but then the group’s offense stagnated. That allowed the hosts to cut the Cavs’ lead to seven points late and force Cleveland to stay active down the stretch.

The Cavaliers won 110-100 and outrebounded the Pistons by 14. The offense only logged 39.4 percent of its attempts including 43.9 percent from deep. The Cavaliers returned to form on offense, finding open opportunities with the extra pass and the reemergence of Garland's ability to takeover.

Ball movement is everything for the Cavaliers' offense

Evan Mobley picked up seven assists on handoffs and kickouts when the defense overreacted to his paint attacks. He lost the ball once when Quentin Grimes swiped it out of his hands in the post, but he otherwise gave the Cavs consistent production on offense as a distributor. Before the season began, Cleveland said that Mobley would have a larger role as a facilitator on offense and put it on display against the Pistons.

Alongside Mobley, Max Strus racked up four helpings. He found Mobley after an offensive rebound, plus hit him on the go after a handoff. He passed to Isaac Okoro on the right wing after the defense over-helped to a pick-and-roll set with Jarrett Allen on the left side and swung the rock to Sam Merrill for a prosperous wing tray later on. Strus' decisive passing helped the Cavaliers stay on top as the Pistons tried to mount multiple comebacks throughout the night.

Two of Darius Garland’s four assists were to Okoro in transition for a layup and triple, and his other two were dished to Mobley after the handoff and setting up Dean Wade for a wing trifecta. Unfortunately, he accumulated five turnovers. While Garland's scoring shined, his passing looked out of control too often.

Okoro, Allen, Merrill and Niang combined for the group’s remaining 10 assists, pushing the total to 25 with 15 turnovers. Of the Cavaliers' 33 field goals, only eight came unassisted.