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Cavaliers vs. Pistons game preview and how to watch

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Does the Cedi hype train still exist?

Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

The Cavs are fortunately done with their 2016 reunion tour. The Cavs have a stretch of four straight gams against teams with losing records starting with the Detroit Pistons tonight.

How to watch:

Tip-off is at 7 p.n. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go, and NBA League Pass.

Projected starters:

The Cavs will be without Kevin Love (calf) and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion). Larry Nance Jr. (wrist) is officially listed as questionable, but I do not expect him to be available tonight considering the Cavs caution with injuries.

Darius Garland is not on a minutes restriction anymore, but he was not in the starting lineup on Monday due to the Lakers length. The Pistons aren’t a good team, but they do have some length in the front court. I would expect J.B. Bickerstaff to stick with the lineup he ran out there on Monday.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong and Garland is reinserted into the starting point guard spot. I’m not a big fan of Collin Sexton trying to run everything with little to no spacing around him. Sexton has been a miracle worker this year, but it’s hard to work miracles when no one on the court can shoot.

Blake Griffin will be missing tonight’s game for the Pistons due to a knee injury.

Cavs: Collin Sexton / Cedi Osman / Isaac Okoro / Taurean Prince / Andre Drummond

Pistons: Delon Wright / Wayne Ellington / Jerami Grant / Saddiq Bey / Mason Plumlee

Things to watch for:

  • Cedi Osman’s hot shooting: Osman had another solid outing against the Lakers on Monday. He finished the game with 20 points on 6-11 shooting which included going 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. Osman is shooting 19 of 38 (50%) on threes in his last five games. Despite the hot shooting which included a nine-point third quarter run, Osman played less than four minutes in the fourth quarter of the loss against Los Angeles. The Cavs could’ve really used some of his shooting down the stretch.
  • Bickerstaff’s obsession with big lineups: Bickerstaff was forced to go big to close games when Garland and Sexton were out of the lineup. That isn’t necessary anymore. Bickerstaff swapped out spacing for length in the fourth quarter against the Lakers to no avail. JaVale McGee (4:50), Jarrett Allen (8:07), Andre Drummond (9:15), and Taurean Prince (6:55) all played similar or significantly more minutes in the fourth quarter than Garland (5:02) and Osman (3:53). Going big didn’t slow down LeBron James as he finished with 21 points in the fourth on 9 of 10 shooting. You can’t stop him no matter what when he has it going like he did on Monday.
  • Closing lineups: Going big down the stretch didn’t stop LeBron, but it did stop the Cavs’ offense. The Cavs finished the fourth with just 19 points (their lowest total on the night), one three pointer, and six turnovers. It also hampered Sexton as he had no room to operate and finished with just 3 points in the final frame. The Pistons are a bad team, but they have length as well with Bey, Plumlee, and Grant. Hopefully Bickerstaff learned his lesson here and isn’t going to try to go through crucial stretches of this game with a Sexton/Okoro/Prince/Allen/Drummond lineup.
  • Isaac Okoro vs. Jerami Grant: Okoro is quickly learning that there are no off-nights when you’re a team’s best wing defender. The rookie was put through the wringer by LeBron and there was nothing he could to do stop him. The goat just had it going that night. Okoro will have another chance to prove how good he is defensively against Jerami Grant who is having a career year. Grant is averaging 24.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game with a 57.7 true shooting percentage. We’ll see how the rookie bounces back in tonight’s matchup.