It had to happen sometime, right? The Cavaliers had been toog ood, too dynaic on offense, too stout on defense, for too long for it to continue. Last night many of the same things that have gotten the Cavaliers into trouble in past seasons reared their ugly heads just long enough for the Pistons to overcome a 10-point 3rd quarter deficit and beat the streaking Cavaliers 96-89.
The Cavaliers looked like a tired bunch, on the second half of a road back-to-back. LeBron couldn't get his jumpshot going and the bench that had been so good during the 8-straight victories was virtually non-existent.
The Cavaliers had dominated the 4th quarter all season, and in the past three games that domination had extended to the 3rd quarter with the Cavaliers outscoring their opponents by a combined 36 points . Last night all that went away. It was the Cavs who got out to the early lead, turning a 7-0 deficit into a 25-16 lead after 1. They continued to stretch the lead, leading by 11 at the break with a combination of solid defense and consistent offense.
hings were even looking good for the Cavaliers midway through the 3rd quarter as they continued to hold a double digit lead, trading baskets with Detroit for much of the quarter. It was at that point Detroit got hot and the Cavaliers got sloppy. Detroit was able to close out the 3rd quarter on a 20-11 run that cut the lead to two heading into "Winning Time".
The Cavs really went cold in the 4th, especially LeBron, who scored 6 points while shooting 1-5 from the field and committing 2 turnovers. Not a good quarter for LeBron on a night that he needed 21 shots to score 25 points. One bright spot for the Cavaliers was Mo Williams who proved he can hit the outside shot. When Mo and LeBron are on it is going to be tough for anyone to beat the Cavaliers.
For the Cavs it was the return of an old friend, or enemy in my mind - the reliance on the outside shot. The Cavaliers attempted 22 shots from long range. For a team that I feel has the players to get to the basket that is far too many. On the other side, the Pistons tried half that many(12) and hit 41%.
While it was a tough night, I was impressed by how the Cavaliers played for the first 30 minutes. Credit the Pistons who seemed to take advantage of the Cavaliers' miscues by turning them into points. They shot the ball extremely well and were able to win a big game on their home floor. Perhaps Mike Brown said it best --
"They played a great second half and we didn't respond," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "It was like a bunch of their players got together at halftime and said, 'Let's bear down and take this game away from the Cavaliers,' and that's just what they did. They brought us to a complete standstill.
"That's the first time I've seen us that discombobulated all year," Brown said.
The Cavaliers now get some time to rest, next playing Saturday Night in a home game agaisnt Atlanta. No better time to start a new winning streak than right there!