Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (13-33) at Toronto Raptors (17-29)
When? 7:30 PM Eastern
Where? The Palace -- Auburn Hills, Michigan
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
The Cavaliers are coming off a disastrous defensive performance on Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors. Alonzo Gee? Really bad. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters? Nowhere to be found. Kyrie was sick, so he gets a bit of a free pass. But it is obvious that one of the major areas of improvement for the young Cavs is going to have to be defense, all over the court. It will involve better communication, better effort, better understanding of space and how to fill it before cutters on opposing teams do, and probably better personnel at a couple positions. And for a 13-33 team, that is alright. We have the time. There have been quarters where the team puts together stops looks good, but it hasn't happened enough. The team is last in opponent's field goal percentage, and I know absolutely no one that reads this blog is surprised by that fact. So, let's try and play some more defense tonight.
In spite of the bad defense, the Cavaliers have been playing better lately. Well, actually, Kyrie Irving has been playing out of his mind, and is carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers lately. At this point, for Cleveland to get wins they pretty much need that. He should be healthier than he was Tuesday, and I expect a bounce-back game. A lot of us are concerned about the chemistry, or lack thereof, between Irving and Dion Waiters. I expect that to get better with time. They have played less than 50 games together. The Cavaliers have both under contract for at least four more seasons. The theme is time, and we have it.
The Pistons also have time. They have some young building blocks in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond that everybody likes, as well as one in Brandon Knight that I like and some people don't. Knight turned 20 last month, and reminds me a bit of Jrue Holliday. He can score, albeit inefficiently at this point, is very smart, and works really hard from all reports. I worry that bringing in Calderon both gives him the wrong message and could hurt his growth a little bit, especially if they re-sign him in the off-season. I could be wrong.
Monroe has had an up and down season, but looks like a starting power forward, and Drummond has been an absolute revelation. In limited minutes that drive Pistons fans crazy, he is playing efficiently, and playing with a lot of energy. He moved his mother and sister with him to Detroit and lives with them. He was the youngest player in the draft, and at this point, is playing like the best player in the draft. I get that he doesn't have the load on his back like Damian Lillard does, but who cares? He doesn't get to choose when to enter a game or not enter a game or leave a game.
In general, I like the Pistons young talent. I know a lot of Cavs fans want Otto Porter, but he would look great in a Pistons jersey. They also struggle to get assists like we do, and guys on the wings who can shoot and also keep the ball moving could be good for both franchises. I like where both teams are heading, they just aren't there yet.
Of course, they have Joe Dumars, and we have Chris Grant. Winning.