Game number thirty already? Sheesh. The Cavaliers welcome the Detroit Pistons to Quicken Loans Arena on a continuation of this epic February home-stand. I haven't been able to watch a Cavs game at the actual time for a while now, so I'm excited to sit down with y'all (virtually) and watch the Cavs. Oh yeah and one more thing....
Song Of The Day: I Want You Back - Jackson 5
Detroit Pistons (11-22) at Cleveland Cavaliers (12-17)
"Oh Manny, give me one more chance" - Dan Gilbert, apparently. If you haven't heard by now, the Cavaliers have signed guard Manny Harris to a 10-day contract from the Canton Charge. He is with the team and will dress for tonight's game. Daniel Gibson is probable and ought to be the starting shooting guard tonight against Detroit. Anthony Parker is still questionable with a sore back and I wouldn't be surprised if he is out tonight. If AP is out, that means Manny could actually get some burn tonight. That'd be cool.
The Pistons were really really terrible. Like really terrible. On Feb. 1, Detroit was 4-20. Since then, they have 7 out of 9 and are 11-22. That's some pretty nice improvement. A lot of that comes from the play of second year center, Greg Monroe. Monroe is basically a beast on the offense end of the floor. He averages 16.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He's rocking a PER of 22.7. The kid is good. Anderson Varejao probably could have handled him. Semih Erden probably cannot. Tristan Thompson probably can.
If you recall (you probably don't), the Cavs and Pistons played in the second game of the season. The Cavs got their first win of the year in Detroit by a score of 105-89. Irving played pretty well, but was only on the floor for 20 minutes. Although that was just 28 games ago, doesn't it seem like forever? Remember when there was a question about who the best player on this team was? In such a short time, Irving has come a long way and probably the biggest improvement is in his confidence. He doesn't play 20 minutes anymore. He plays around 34-36 minutes per game. He takes control of this team when he's on the court and he wants the ball in his hand at the most crucial moments. He's a big time player - a lot different from the last time Detroit saw him.
Don't look now, but Tristan Thompson is coming on strong. He's grabbed a couple double-doubles and continues to make big plays with his athleticism and hustle. He scored a momentous basket in the waning seconds of the win against Sacramento as he crashed the boards and put back Irving's missed layup. Now that he's healthy and comfortable on the floor again, we can resume watching as Tigger oozes potential and starts producing.
Ramon Sessions vs. Rodney Stuckey
So here's my actual key matchup for this game. Stuckey vs. Sessions. Stuckey is the starting two guard for the Pistons, and Sessions is the backup PG for the Cavs. That may not seem like it would be a real crucial matchup that had much overlap at all, but hear me out. In February, Stuckey has been an entirely different player than he was in months that didn't start with the letter "F". He's averaging 17.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 10 games this month. Meanwhile, Sessions has been a rock solid backing up (and sometimes starting for) Kyrie. In February, Sessions is averaging 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game. Both guys have been really quite effective this month and, while they are not their respective team's most valuable weapon, are vital to the team's success.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Do I hear two in a row?? Heck yeah, I do. Let's start a winning streak tonight. Cavs cruise past the Pistons, 103-87 and Irving drops a cool 28 with 6 dimes.