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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Darius Garland's takeover for Cleveland

Garland had no points on his ledger through the first 12 minutes, and the Cavs were up 32-24 when the second quarter started. He then blasted the Pistons for 18 points on six-of-seven deep attempts (missing four in the paint). He used an Allen flare screen to beat the zone in the corner, canned a step back over Jalen Duren and another over Isaiah Stewart, burned drop coverage twice and splashed his last on the left side over a blitz.

The all-star point guard followed up his 3-point shooting with two of five makes in the second half. In the fourth, when the Cavs’ offense fell apart, DG scored the team’s last field goal by isolating Stewart and pulling up at the left elbow. He made one of four ventures late.

The next top marksman was Merrill, producing 12 points behind the arc on 44.4 percent accuracy. The Pistons were tardy, locking and trailing him, and were destroyed by dropping instead of trapping after the catch. His last two bangers came in the fourth quarter- the Cavaliers only registered six of 19 looks in the frame.

Strus dropped just 29 percent from behind the arc, but he made his only pair in the first four minutes of the game to set the rhythm for Cleveland. The rest of the Wine and Gold converted four of 13 shots from deep.

Attacking the paint and converting from the charity stripe

Against man-to-man and zone coverage, the Cavaliers made just 14 of 34 tries in the paint. Although, it generated 30 free throw attempts, making 26. The league lead for most averaged freebies per game is 25.4 by the Phoenix Suns.

Mobley was the team’s best paint crasher, attacking defenders one-on-one, rim rolling and going coast-to-coast after a rebound. His activity near the basket resulted in 11 free throws, making eight. Mobley also added 14 points in the paint.

The next paint scoring leaders were Strus and Okoro with two-of-four baskets apiece. Both Okoro and Strus were perfect from the free-throw line with an accumulative six-for-six on freebies. Allen had a miserable night from the field, missing seven shots, but eight of his points came from the line. The Pistons just couldn’t deal with him throwing his weight around.

In total, the Cavaliers led the entire evening and the outcome was never in doubt, despite abysmal shooting in the fourth quarter (31.6 percent). The Pistons may resemble a G-League team, but this was a valuable opportunity to allow the players to fix some of their issues out of the All-Star break. Garland's continued success from deep is putting Cleveland in better position with the postseason nearing.

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