2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
March 16, 2010
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Radio - WTAM 1100 / FSOhio
The Cavaliers and Pistons went several months without playing each other. They are following that up with 3 games in 16 days. Back on March 5, the Cavaliers came back from over 20 points down to beat the Pistons at the Q. It was a win tempered by a scary incident involving Rodney Stuckey, who collapsed during a timeout and was rushed to the hospital. Stuckey appears to be ok, thankfully, though he will not play tonight.
For the Cavaliers, the countdown continues until the return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavaliers can begin negotiations with him on March 22nd and I expect something to get done that day. As for tonight, Delonte West will take a breather with what the team is calling a sprained left knee. It is considered precuationary, however, and the team expect West to play tomorrow night against the Pacers.
While the Cavs are on the front end of a back-to-back, Detroit had the mis-fortune of playing the Celtics one day after their defeat against the Cavaliers. Boston made short order of the Pistons - on ESPN no less, up over 30 points for large parts of the game. For that reason, at least in part, Sunday's rematch between the Cavs and Pistons at the Q has been moved from 8PM to 6PM and will no longer be broadcast on ESPN.
3-in the Key
1. At 52-15 (.776), Cleveland owns the NBA's best record and leads the league with highest point differential at +7.1. The Cavaliers are the only team with 50 wins, has won nine of their last 10 games and is 26-7 (.788) in 2010, which is the best mark in that span. After going a league-best 66-16 (.805) last season, the Cavaliers could become the first team since the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 (72-10) and 1996-97 (69-13) to have sole possession of the best record in the regular season in consecutive years. After defeating Boston 104-93 on Sunday, the Cavs are now 28-9 (.757) against teams with a .500- record or better.
2. As the Cavaliers head to Detroit, the team's magic number to clinch their second straight Central Division crown is two. Cleveland will face four consecutive Central Division opponents and stands at 7-2 (.778) against their division this season while holding a commanding 15.0 game lead over Milwaukee, the largest division lead in the NBA. The Cavs have won five straight over the Pistons, including two consecutive contests at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
3. Anderson Varejao notched his 11th double-double of the season with 17 points on 6-8 (.750) shooting, 10 rebounds (six offensive) and one block to lead Cleveland's bench, which outscored the Celtics' reserves 27-15. Varejao has now scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 contests and is averaging a near double-double with 12.5 points on .707 shooting and 8.8 rebounds over that span. Varejao ranks second in reserves in total rebounding at 7.9 rpg in 58 games (Lamar Odom - 8.3 rpg in 41 games). The Cavs entered tonight's game allowing a league-low 25.9 points from the opponent reserves, and over the last four games, the bench has outscored their opponents' reserves 33.5-16.5.