On Sunday night the Cleveland Cavaliers got beat up on the glass in a tough road loss to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets spread the floor with the best of them, and the Cavs opted to switch Tristan Thompson onto Rockets guards throughout the game. There were a few different, and bad, outcomes. One, Thompson couldn’t control Harden or really anyone. Hopefully he isn’t hurt, but in his first full season of starting at center, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was a bit beat up, particularly with Kevin Love missing so much time. It also took him out of rebounding position, and the Rockets were happy to take advantage.
On Tuesday night the Pistons will hope to crash the boards and wear down the Cavs, though they won’t do it via the same methods the Rockets used. Detroit will have Andre Drummond beating up on Thompson, and will ask Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, and Stanley Johnson to help out as well. The Pistons can’t score like the Rockets can. If the Cavs can keep Drummond and company off the glass, the Cavs could take care of business quite easily.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (43-22) vs. Detroit Pistons (33-33)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio
TV Info: NBA TV, Fox Sports Ohio, League Pass
The Pistons are coming off a win over the New York Knicks in which they outscored their opponent 50-26 in the paint. Tristan Thompson has been better protecting the rim this year, but the returns in March have not been so good. There are a few reasons for this, and the Cavs ask him to do too much. That being said, they will ask him to do a lot again with Andre Drummond in town. He’ll need a bit more help from his teammates, including LeBron James.
Much has been made of the Pistons general disappointment over the season, but they sit right at .500 coming into this game. They’ve been very good at home and very not good on the road, so we will find out if that trend continues. If the season ended today they’d be the Eastern Conference’s 7th seed; given the trade rumors, the internal discontent towards Reggie Jackson, that just really isn’t that bad. They’re playing better now, and might be rounding into form. They have the NBA’s sixth best defense, and had success a season ago in the pick and roll. If they can squeeze out points, perhaps they give someone a tough first round.
The Cavs remain hurt. Kyle Korver and Kevin Love won’t play on Tuesday night. J.R. Smith has been underwhelming, and Derrick Williams has regressed. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson have been asked to do a lot and have functioned at varying levels. Let’s hope they get a bit of help on Tuesday night.