The Cavs, after beating the Suns on Wednesday, take on the Pistons tonight on the road before returning to Cleveland to take on the Spurs Saturday.
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Palace at Auburn Hills - Auburn Hills, Michigan
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy Blog: Detroit Bad Boys
Music: The Black Keys - Tighten Up
Keys to the game
- It's a trivial part of the game, but it'll be interesting to see how Tyronn Lue handles Andrew Drummond. There could very well be a point where hacking Drummond is in-play and we don't know yet where Lue what Lue will decided when the time comes.
- For the Cavs, getting a clean, blow out win would be big here. Saturday's game against the Spurs feels big for the Cavs for a number of reasons and going into that game at less than full go doesn't sound optimal.
- This game should be, frankly, winnable too. Detroit beat the Cavs by five the first time around despite LeBron James scoring 30 points. The Cavs held what felt like a comfortable lead heading into the fourth, but were outscored by 11 in the fourth and lost. This, though, was in November when the Cavs weren't really clicking. Of course, the Cavs are going through some change now and the Pistons will definitely be a tougher out than the Suns were on Wednesday.
- Detroit runs a pick and roll that the Cavs actually can have some success defending. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond's pick and roll is potent, sure, but it's also a sledgehammer. This isn't the Warriors' multi-faceted pick and roll and there are some clear ways to defend it. One - and it's something the Cavs really shouldn't do against a team that runs a more mobile pick and roll - is ICE every pick and roll when Timofey Mozgov is and just make Drummond beat Mozgov at the rim. Another option - and one that might be interesting to see since they haven't really done it much, if at all - is have everyone stay home and let whoever is guarding the play handle it as a duo. A lot of the Pistons' secondary action comes from shots off the pick and roll and if the Cavs don't help inside if/why the Pistons get in the lane, it could in theory lesson or prevent secondary attacks. Of course, that does put a lot of pressure of Mozgov and Tristan Thompson to keep Drummond away inside.
- Drummond, by the way, was named to the All-Star team yesterday as a reserve and he's deserving. There are fair concerns about his status as a franchise cornerstone and he hasn't quite mastered where to be on defense yet, but he's an absolute beast in the pick and roll, on the boards and sets the foundation for absolutely everything Detroit does.
- Speaking of Irving, he said something interesting about offense success being about rhythm. Without being there, it seems as if Irving is really looking to find his own rhythm within what the Cavs are doing as a whole. Maybe tonight, where he should be able to do what he's good at against Jackson and Brandon Jennings, is where he finds it. Or not, because it feels like Irving's been in this type of game a few times since he returned from injury.
- Standings wise, a win would bump the Cavs back up to a two and a half game lead over the Raptors. That kind of matters, as Toronto has won 10 straight and plays the Pistons on Saturday.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
The Cavs should win this, even if it's tougher then expected. If the defense holds up, they win. Cavs 101, Pistons 95.