The Cleveland Cavaliers grabbed a 2-0 series lead against the Detroit Pistons on the back of a dominant second half and franchise record 20 three-pointers. After the Pistons shot lights out in Game 1, 15-of-29, the Cavaliers responded with some fireworks of their own, shooting 20-of-38 from three-point range. The 20 three-pointers tie an NBA single-game postseason record for combined three-pointers with the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and Seattle Sonics.
LeBron James led the team with 27 points, including two three-point completions, while J.R. Smith got all 21 of his points off seven three-pointers. Add in completions from Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, Matthew Dellavedova, and a final 20th make from Jordan McRae and you can see how the Cavaliers opened up a 17-point third quarter lead.
However, the NBA record is only half the story. The Cavaliers got off to a slow start following two quick fouls on Tristan Thompson against Andre Drummond in the opening three minutes. And the struggles continued with 16 first half team fouls, including two on Kevin Love, which limited minutes for the Cavaliers starting frontcourt. Irving proved to be the only offense for the Cavaliers early, scoring 11 straight of 13 first quarter points to keep the team within reach. The Pistons led by as many as ten before Lue tried out Frye and James in a small ball unit at the start the second quarter to lead an 11-2 run.
The lineup of James, Frye, Dellevedova, Jefferson and Iman Shumpert proved a refreshing change of pace against the Pistons. With James as the roll-man in combination with Dellavedova and a few spot up shooters to compliment, James scored 14 in the second quarter and Dellevedova contributed five assists in just six minutes.
In the second half, it was all three-pointers and an improved defense that opened up a double-digit third quarter lead. Cavaliers went on an 11-0 run capitalized by a fast break from James and Kyrie that saw Kyrie pass up an open look for an ever better attempt from Smith. Smith and Irving's combined 43 points is a positive sign for the team's ability to adapt and play multiple styles following the frontcourt's foul trouble.
Meanwhile, the Reggie Jackson's pick and roll continued to trouble the Cavaliers, a two-man high screen with Tobias Harris and Drummond proved particularly potent. The added option with Drummond rolling to the basket and Harris popping to the perimeter was a noteworthy weapon for Stan Van Gundy's offense. Without Love and Thompson to trap, the Pistons trio combined for 34 points in the first half. Jackson finished the game with 14 points, scoring just once in the second half. Drummond had a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds and the Pistons three-point shooting receded well below their average, just 4-of-17.
The Cavaliers will head to Detroit on Friday for game 3 at the Palace. The Pistons have proved to be a formidable opponent for the Cavaliers in the No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup, they'll look to continue their success on the road this weekend.