The Cavaliers get back to it tonight at The Q when they welcome the Detroit Pistons to town. For Detroit, a string of 6 straight trips to the Eastern Conference Championship Series is in serious doubt. Sitting at 36-37, Detroit has struggled all year, especially after trading their team leader Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson. The move was done for salary reasons, with Iverson a free agent after the season, but no one thought Detroit would struggle as mightily as they have.
All that said, there is still something special about these two teams that evokes emotion in me. there have been team battles, like the thrilling 7-game series in 2006, with the Cavs losing that decisive Game 7 in Detroit. Or the rematch in 2007 that saw the Cavaliers win their first Eastern Conference Championship by knocking off the Pistons in 6-games, thanks in large part to LeBron James and his legendary performance at the Palace in game 5.
There have been personal battles, such as Rasheed Wallace blasting Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the head, bloodying the Cavalier.
Much of the growing up the Cavs have done, as a team, and as individuals has come during games against the Pistons. Only this season did the Cavaliers finally wrestle away the Central Division from Detroit.
The latest chapter in this stroy goes much deeper than just tonight's game. If the playoffs started today, Chicago would be Cleveland's first round opponent, but they are only 1 game behind Detroit for 7th place. It is not far-fetched to think that a first round matchup with Detroit could be lingering, and you get the sense that the Pistons are going to have little fear of any team they play, should they get into the playoffs in the first place.
No matter what happens, there will always be something special to me when the Cavs and Pistons play. Regardless of the records, these two teams just don't like each other that much and I expect to see Detroit's best, tonight and should the teams meet in a few weeks with more important things at stake.