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Hobbled Pistons power past Cavs, 109-105

Cleveland might have to put their Play-in Tourney dreams to rest.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

“Detroit has no interest in winning this game”

These are not my words, but rather those hilariously pinned to SB Nation’s ‘Detroit Bad Boys’ blog in the form of a game preview this morning — brilliant bulletin board material for the ever-so-enigmatic Cleveland Cavaliers (20-37), who took the L tonight against the Detroit Pistons. Final Score: 105-109.

It’s no mystery the Pistons (18-40) rode into tonight’s matchup on a heavy TANK... dragging behind them 7 players out for illness, injury and/or forthcoming implosion.

As long as there’s a Play-In Tournament opportunity, we’ve been told the Cavs are going to shoot for it — the problem is, they miss... A LOT. Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Cavs were sitting 29 of 30, gripping a lifeless Offensive Rating of 104.9. Tonight’s performance only worked to amplify that crisis.

If the Cavs came out in a word, it would have been ‘disgraceful.’ Cleveland — almost remarkably — allowed 37 points, shot just 40% and found themselves in a 23-point hole...all in just the first quarter. The Pistons, meanwhile, poured it in from beyond the arc, nailing 56% of their attempts by halftime.

In tonight’s loss, the Cavs shot just 19% from three (5 for 26). Sexton led the team with 28 points on 12 for 20 shooting. Kevin Love turned out a mediocre game, knocking down a few of his signature mid-range jumpers with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Hartenstein finished with the team’s most complete game, tightening things up down the stretch with 13 points and drawing a few clutch fouls. Garland struggled early with his shot, finishing with 23 points on 9 for 19 shooting, but this cross-court bouncer was something to behold:

Saddiq Bey and Frank Jackson each scored 20 points for the Pistons, while Isaiah Stewart pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.

Up Next: The Cavs head back to Cleveland to face the Chicago Bulls again on Wednesday. Tip-off at 7 pm.