Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (28-19) vs. Detroit Pistons (22-25)
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass.
Cavaliers injuries: Dwyane Wade (TBD - personal matter)
Pistons injuries: Reggie Bullock (PROBABLE - Thumb), Reggie Jackson (OUT - ankle), Jon Leuer (OUT - ankle)
Three keys to the game:
- The Pistons are one of the few teams more depressing than the Cavs right now. They’ve lost seven games in a row, and they’ve fallen out of the playoff picture in the East. They’re likely desperate for a win and if the Cavaliers afford them life, they’ll take their chance. A good effort from the starters will be vital.
- The Cavaliers are suddenly much better equipped with a dominant big man like Andre Drummond on the boards with Tristan Thompson at center. Thompson is agile enough to work around the dribble hand-offs that Stan Van Gundy has built into the offense. He’s also capable of fighting Drummond all night on the boards without letting his offense suffer.
- Reggie Jackson is out with an ankle injury, so Isaiah Thomas will have some respite on the defensive end. Langston Galloway has some juice off the dribble, but he’s not the pick and roll threat that Jackson is. Thomas is never going to be a good defender, but he can at least do his part against the Pistons.
Stanley Johnson will likely draw the primary LeBron James assignment, and that means that Tobias Harris will draw the primary Kevin Love assignment. The Cavaliers need to look to re-engage Love in the offense in a way that they’ve mostly failed to do since Isaiah Thomas’ return. J.R. Smith had his bounceback game - now it’s time for them to get back to business with Love.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers finally are the more positively-trending team in a matchup. They need to capitalize. Cavs win 113, 103.