If there's one thing we've learned so far in the playoffs, it's that the Detroit Pistons do not fear the Cleveland Cavaliers. They have a young, talented team that is tremendously coached. Even though they do not possess the same talent as the Cavs, they have played this series with the passion and intensity that one would possess if they truly believed they had a shot in this series. Heading into game three, the Cavs should be expecting the Piston's absolute best effort as they try to win their first playoff game at home. The Cavs enter with a 2-0 series lead that usually means one of two things as a higher seed, the home team either wins and you have a fight on your hands the next game, or you can break their will after surviving what is likely their best shot.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (2-0) at Detroit Pistons (0-2)
When: 7 PM ET
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit Michigan.
Where on my eyeballs: ESPN
Enemy Blog: Detroit Bad Boys
The Pistons are giving the Cavs a real series and the team is responding. Despite questions about whether or not the Cavs were capable of flipping the switch in the playoffs, the Cavs have got out to a 2-0 series lead with impressive wins. Last season the Cavs were in a tight series with the Boston Celtics, and even though they swept them, the margin of victory for every game but the first one was eight. This Detroit team is much better than last year's Celtics and game two was the largest margin of victory in round one for LeBron since he returned to Cleveland. This Cavs team is deeper, healthier and should be better this season and they are finally showing signs of that.
So far the game plan has been fairly solid from Tyronn Lue. Their efforts to neutralize Andre Drummond as much as humanly possible have been successful, as they held him to 13 points in game one and while he accumulated 20 points in game two, they managed to hold him to only seven rebounds.
Staying out of foul trouble will be big in game three. Two uncharacteristic early fouls on Tristan Thompson followed by two on Kevin Love snuffed out any ability for the Cavs to start strong in game two. While Drummond is a tough assignment for Thompson, he will need to make sure that he defends tough without fouling as the team seriously needs him on the court, especially if Timofey Mozgov is the alternative.
Speaking of Mozgov, it'll be interesting to see when and where he plays in tonight's game given that Channing Frye was more effective on both ends of the court on Wednesday. Lue has had an uneven series so far, with his first half drawing the ire of Cavs fans and second half adjustments proving to be critical in the two wins. It'll be interesting to see if he learns from his mistakes and adjusts, or if we will see more experimenting and adjusting in the playoffs.
Detroit was able to attack the Love at the five lineup that got so much attention after game one. While I still think it's a useful wrinkle, a steady diet of it probably isn't advantageous at this point. That being said, if the Cavs can utilize the pick and roll with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James with spacing around them (Love at the five, Frye at the five etc.) it will likely continue to be incredibly effective.
On the road the Cavs likely won't be able to climb out of a hole the same way that they could at home. They will need to be sharp, focused and consistent in order to prevent Detroit from getting into a position to pull off the upset.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I think the Cavs have stumbled into something real here. The Big Three has been fantastic so far and the chemistry is starting to show. Stanley Johnson has poked the bear and LeBron may not be as relaxed as he's been at times this series. He's been great so far, I think we see him switch into executioner mode tonight. Cavs win 110-103.