Where: Detroit, MI - Little Caesars Arena
When: 6:00 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports+, NBA League Pass
Opposing blog: Detroit Bad Boys
Cavs’ expected starting lineup: Darius Garland / Donovan Mitchell / Dean Wade / Evan Mobley / Robin Lopez
Cavs’ injury report: Jarrett Allen (QUESTIONABLE - back), Caris LeVert (QUESTIONABLE - ankle), Kevin Love (OUT - thumb), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Lamar Stevens (OUT - illness), Dylan Windler (OUT - ankle)
Pistons’ expected starting lineup: Killian Hayes / Rodney McGruder / Bojan Bogdanović / Isaiah Livers / Marvin Bagley III
Pistons’ injury report: Saddiq Bey (QUESTIONABLE - ankle), Bojan Bogdanović (QUESTIONABLE - knee), Jaden Ivey (QUESTIONABLE - knee), Corey Joseph (QUESTIONABLE - illness), Isaiah Stewart (QUESTIONALBE - toe), Cade Cunningham (OUT - shin), Buddy Boeheim (OUT - G League Assignment)
What to watch for
The Pistons are in a rough spot.
Not a lot has gone right for the Pistons this season. They currently have the 29th point differential, the 23rd offense and the 29th defense. This has been a bad team throughout the season, but things have taken a turn for the worse after Cade Cunningham’s injury. This will be his tenth game missed. The team has only one win in that stretch.
Detroit hasn’t turned the corner this season. There’s been some reason for optimism at times, but overall this is still a team too young to be consistent on a nightly basis. Not having their best player makes that challenge even harder.
Short handed teams
Both teams will not be at full strength tonight. The Pistons have four of their five opening night starters listed on the injury report. Only Cunningham is out, but it’s possible they will be without a good portion of their rotation.
The Cavs are expected to have at least three members of their opening night starting five out as well. Being without Kevin Love, Lamar Stevens and possibly Jarrett Allen leaves the big man rotation rather thin. While Detroit probably won’t be able to take advantage of this the same way the Milwaukee Bucks did on Friday night, this will be an area of concern all night for the Cavs.
Bounce back game
Friday’s loss wasn’t unexpected with the injuries, but it was disappointing given how poorly the second half went. Things don’t get easier after tonight as they head on the road to take on the Toronto Raptors before heading back home Wednesday to face the Philadelphia 76ers.
While Toronto and Philadelphia haven’t gotten off to the starts they would’ve wanted to, they are still quality teams when healthy. The Cavs need to do everything they can to win this one against an opponent that is banged up in order to avoid the chance of another losing streak.
Continued chemistry with the backcourt.
Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are continuing to improve their chemistry together. They have really taken a step forward since Garland broke out of his slump with a 51 point performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the six games since, the duo has combined to average 53.5 points on .496/.427/.889 shooting splits with 14 assists per game. Unsurprisingly, the Cavs are winning their minutes together as lineups with both have a 3.5 net rating in their last six games.
There has been real growth between the two recently even if there is some room for improvement. Tonight is another chance to build and work on their connection.