The Cavaliers get a second chance to get their first win of the season in another relatively winnable game agains the Detroit Pistons tonight. The Cavs travel to the Palace at Auburn Hills to face off against the Pistons tonight at 7:30 PM EST.
Song Of The Day: Try It Again - The Hives
The Cavaliers' season opener was pretty unsuccessful, so here we go, let's try it again.
Cleveland Cavaliers (0-1) at Detroit Pistons (0-1)
Tonight's game features two teams looking for that first win of the season. Both teams lost their season openers and need to get that all important first W. The Cavs and Pistons are quite familiar now, having played their two preseason games against one another. In those preseason games, the two teams split the series with the road team winning each game.
I wasn't able to catch much of the Pistons' first game against the Pacers, but the box score and people who did watch it tell me that they got thoroughly dominated. The Pacers are likely a much better team than the Raptors, but Detroit played pretty terribly in their season debut. As bad as Kyrie Irving may have been on Monday night, Pistons rookie, Brandon Knight, had an even rougher debut. Knight scored 9 points in 17 minutes, but shot 3 of 9 from the field and committed 4 turnovers. It is clear that both of these first round draft picks are much better than they showed in their NBA debuts, so we'll be looking to see how they make a second impression, as their first impressions were kind of weak.
One of the main problems that the Cavaliers had against Toronto was finishing at the rim. As a team, the Cavs shot just 16-31 on shots at the rim. Much of this can be attributed to the length of the Raptors in Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, but some of it can be explained by simple overexcitement and those first game jitters. We saw the Cavs miss a bunch of real easy shots early in the game, which is likely a sign of just being too excited and not focusing. As the game progressed, they seemed to play more under control and make less silly mistakes. The Pistons do not have quite the same amount of length in the paint as the Raptors do, although Jonas Jerebko and Greg Monroe are relatively decent defenders. If I were to pick a key for tonight's game, I'd say it is the Cavaliers' ability to finish at the rim. If they can get some easy buckets in the paint early on, it will go a long way towards winning.
Look for Byron Scott to use the same starting lineup as Monday night. Kyrie Irving didn't play great, but it would be foolish to bench him and shatter his confidence after one game. We've handed him the reins, let's see what he can do. The only change that I may consider would be starting Alonzo Gee over Omri Casspi at small forward. I don't think Scott will make that change, but I could understand the switch as neither guy has really earned the spot and Gee played significantly better than Casspi against the Raptors. Although Anderson Varejao will still start at center for the Cavs, expect to see Samardo Samuels get a chance as the backup 5 tonight instead of Ryan Hollins. Hollins played poorly in the first game of the season and Samuels was quite impressive against the Pistons front line during preseason. Also, Mychel Thompson should be available tonight off the bench for the Cavs.
As for the Pistons, they will likely use the same lineup that they used against the Pacers, but it could obviously change. Their previous lineup was: Rodney Stuckey - Ben Gordon - Tayshaun Prince - Jonas Jerebko - Greg Monroe. Knight hasn't come close to earning a starting spot, so don't expect to see him on the floor at the start of the game. Keep in mind that Charlie Villanueva is still suspended for this game from the end of last season.
Cleveland: Semih Erden (broken thumb)
Jonas Jerebko vs. Tristan Thompson
Jerebko was basically the only member of the Pistons that played well against the Pacers. The young forward scored 17 points on 7-11 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds. While he will likely get more minutes than TT, I am interested to see how the two matchup, if at all. Thompson should be able to dominate him with length and athleticism, but Jonas' game is much more refined. These are two intriguing young power forwards with significant upside. Keep an eye on how the two play against one another tonight.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Well I was wrong on Monday when I predicted a Cavaliers win, so I'll summon the powers of the reverse jinx tonight. The Pistons will knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 96-92, however, Kyrie Irving will bounce back in a big way by scoring 16 points and dishing out 8 assists.