The Cleveland Cavaliers (30-19) take on the Detroit Pistons (11–37) this afternoon as they look to extend their win streak to four, and continue their newfound, highly-romanticized rise in the Eastern Conference standings. The Cavs now sit 1.5 games back from the top spot in the East.
Where: Little Caesars Arena — Detroit, Michigan
When: 6 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports App, NBA League Pass
Spread: Cavs -8
Opposing blog: Detroit Bad Boys
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
Cavs injury report: Lauri Markkanen (OUT - right ankle sprain), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Collin Sexton (OUT - meniscus), RJ Nembhard Jr. (OUT - G League)
Expected Pistons starting lineup: Cade Cunningham, Cory Joseph, Hamidou Diallo, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart
Pistons injury report: Jerami Grant (OUT - reconditioning), Isaiah Livers (OUT - foot), Kelly Olynyk (OUT - health and safety protocols), Josh Jackson (QUESTIONABLE - back)
Three Things to Watch
Dogs in Motown. Last week, a locally-seasoned reporter proclaimed the Cavs were not getting the regional media attention they rightfully deserved. Suddenly and without warning, the switch was flipped and the Cavs were lit up across most all available frequencies. For a team whose success is built on a self-proclaimed “dog mentality,” this evening can prove especially revealing as we inch closer to our home-cooked All Star Weekend. Coach Bickerstaff appears experienced enough to stray away from a I’m-Shady-esque “Till I Collapse,” soundtracked-vibe at shootaround and stick with joyful Motown hits. The Pistons, who currently sit second-to-last in the Eastern Conference, have dropped 7 of their last 10 and will likely carry a renewed effort into this afternoon’s matchup. Mentality is everything in this league and the Cavs will need to trot in level-headed and showcase their style of basketball — no matter the opponent’s level of play.
As the great Stevie would say:
Be cool, be calm and keep yourself together.
Capturing Cade. No.1 draft pick and standout rookie Cade Cunningham is coming into his own as of late and is sure to bring it this Sunday afternoon. Just last week, Cunningham dazzled against the Nuggets notching a career-high 34 points along with 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 blocks.
Lucky for for the Cavs, they employ one of the league’s best on-ball defenders. According to BBall Index, Isaac Okoro ranks third in the NBA in their On-Ball Defense metric among players with 500+ minutes played and in the top 10% in matchup difficulty. What does it all mean?…Well, this afternoon will provide yet another tantalizing opportunity for Isaac Okoro to solidify his role on defense, and show the league he’s coming for a star near you.
A Party in the Paint. If everything goes as planned, the Pistons are in for some real trouble around the rim. According to NBA.com, the Pistons allow 48.4 points in the paint, which is good for 23rd in the league. Expect big things from Allen and Mobley this afternoon who make their money running the block. Allen ranks 4th of the 78 players in the league that have attempted at least 100 shots in the restricted area at a clip of 79.7%. Mobley sits at 30th, making 72.3% of his shots in the same space.
Tammi Terrell was correct:
Who needs the records turned up loud? When two, when two can have a party all alone?