Well, that was more like it. After two straight losses in which at least one member of the Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love was missing, they were all back for the Detroit Pistons.
And as one might expect, the Cavaliers reverted back to their winning ways. Your Cleveland Cavaliers 109, the Detroit Pistons 97.
The conversation will now shift to Kyrie Irving's nebulous hip situation. But if there was concern about whether or not the Cavs were sharp and ready to go, the Cavs starting unit put them to rest, Irving included. LeBron James played with a ton of energy, particularly in the first half. He grabbed loose balls, rebounds, played passing lanes. He finished with a triple-double, and really controlled the game. 21 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, just one turnover. He's not making outlandish passes anymore. He knows who he plays with, and he didn't experiment a ton tonight. He doesn't have to.
Timo Mozgov had great stretches and one rough stretch but was mostly great. He helped set the tone in the first quarter, bullying Andre Drummond a bit in the first quarter. 16 points, 13 rebounds, four fouls, two turnovers, 24 minutes. We got the full Mozgov experience tonight, and it was pretty great. Irving put together a great half as well. 12 points on seven shots, three assists, three rebounds, no turnovers. He was good. His hip may be an issue, but he found ways to be effective. He's been a great spot up shooter all year, and he hit two pretty spot up shots.
But J.R. Smith stole the show. 28 points with the aid of eight made three point shots. He made them from everywhere. Quite a few of them were ridiculous. It just doesn't matter a lot of the time. He'll have the green light from distance in the playoffs, and he really opens up the Cavs offense. He's not a Kyle Korver spacer, no, but when you have LeBron James run the pick and roll with Kevin Love, Irving, and J.R. spotting up? Good luck.
The game wasn't a crazy blowout because the Cavs gave a lot of minutes to their fringe rotation players. The guys who needed to play well played well. Kevin Love struggled, I suppose, but I thought he was pretty good defensively. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond just didn't do that much. Outside of Kyrie Irving's injury, the most discouraging part of tonight may have been Iman Shumpert missing yet another dunk. It's hilarious. For now.