The Cavaliers still are being outscored for the season (-1.6 point differential), but that hasn’t stopped them from rattling off four straight wins to vault them over .500 on the season. They’re now just two games out of the two seed, which is currently occupied by their Monday opponent, the Detroit Pistons, who have bounced back from a nightmare 2017 season to play quite well to start the year.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: Detroit Bad Boys
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT - hip), Tristan Thompson (OUT - left calf), Derrick Rose (OUT - ankle), Iman Shumpert (OUT - left knee)
Pistons injuries: These Pistons are healthy, friends.
Three Keys to the game
- Once Tristan Thompson returns, Kevin Love should just take a week off. He’s now had to fight Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and now Andre Drummond on the boards in the last three games. The Cavaliers have done surprisingly well in the rebounding battle over all despite missing Thompson, but Love draws another tough matchup with Drummond in this one. The Cavs will need to gang rebound and give Love as much help as possible.
- Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris have been rejuvenated, and both mercurial players can really destroy individual matchups if they’re not contained well. Harris famously woke LeBron James up from “chill mode” several years ago. If James is in chill mode again, it’ll be tough sledding for the Cavaliers.
- Drawing the Reggie Jackson matchup will be starting point guard...Jose Calderon. It’s not particularly inspiring and my guess is that Dwyane Wade will play another heavy-minute outing at backup point guard. With John Holland called up to the main roster, it seems likely that Cedi Osman might get minutes to help keep Wade’s minutes down. The more Calderon we see will probably leave the Cavaliers worse for the wear.
The Pistons will throw Stanley Johnson on LeBron, and if Johnson is able to be physical and keep James out of his game, Detroit will likely win this game. If James continues to dominate the Pistons like he has in years past, then the Cavaliers should be able to steal a road win.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
After playing with fire against the Knicks, Mavericks and Clippers, the Cavaliers are finally burned by an opponent playing very well. Pistons 112, Cavaliers 106.