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Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons: game preview and how to watch

The Cavs look to build on their six game winning streak.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to keep the momentum going as they look for seven straight wins. The Detroit Pistons are trying to get it going in the right direction as they’ve lost seven of their last eight.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (6-1) at Detroit Pistons (2-7)

Where: Detroit, MI - Little Caesars Arena

When: 7 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 / Caris LeVert / Evan Mobley / Jarrett Allen

Cavs’ injury report: Darius Garland (QUESTIONABLE - knee), Donovan Mitchell (QUESTIONABLE - ankle), Raul Neto (QUESTIONABLE - Ankle), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Isaiah Mobley (OUT - G League Assignment), Dylan Windler (OUT - right ankle)

Pistons’ expected starting lineup: Jaden Ivey / Cade Cunningham / Saddiq Bey / Bojan Bogdanović / Isaiah Stewart

Pistons’ injury report: Jalen Duren (PROBABLE - ankle), Alec Burks (OUT - foot), Marvin Bagley III (OUT - foot), Key Braxton (OUT - G Leauge Assignment), Buddy Boeheim (OUT - G League Assignment)

What to watch for

Detroit basketball. The Pistons have been one of the worst teams in the league this season. According to Cleaning the Glass, they have the worst net rating (-11.1), 26th ranked offense (108.6 offensive rating) and the worst defense (119.7 defensive rating).

Like any young team, they are not nearly as bad at home as they’re only being outscored by 1.6 points per 100 possessions in Detroit. They also took down the defending champions at home last week with an impressive 128-114 win over the Golden State Warriors.

This young team is still figuring out who they are and how to play together which has led to some disappointing results. But they have shown to be a somewhat competent team at home who can steal wins against much more skilled opponents.

Cade Cunningham. Cunningham is off to another good start. He’s averaging 21.7 points, 6.4 assists and 6.4 rebounds on .443/.286/.853 shooting splits.

The former number one overall pick has been effective in the midrange this season. He is connecting on 46.1% of his midrange shots which puts him in the 81st percentile among wings. Conversely, Cunningham is finishing just 54.8% of his attempts at the rim (38th percentile) and is hitting just 28.6% of his outside shots.

Cunningham’s makes this season in relation to league average.
via statmuse

The second-year wing has made Detroit functional while he is on the floor as the Pistons have a net rating of -6.3 with him on. However, they’ve been a train wreck when he sits as they are being outscored by 25.1 points per 100 possessions without him.

The Cavs’ ability to contain Cunningham when he is on the floor and press their advantage with him off will be key in determining how close this game ends up being.

Playing down to the competition. Tonight’s game starts a week and a half long five game road trip. The Cavs have had one of the harder schedules thus far and have more than answered the bell winning five games without Darius Garland and six in a row.

This roadtrip matches them up with teams who may be good in the long-run but are not playing well right now. The five teams they play are currently a combined 13-27 with only the Kawhi Leonard-less Los Angeles Clippers playing .500 basketball. The Warriors and Clippers are better than their record show, but it’s still safe to say that none of these teams are off to the starts they wanted.

The Cavs struggled at times last season against teams they were better than. They lost multiple times to the Pistons and Washington Wizards while dropping games to both the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. Cleveland needs to do a better job of pressing their advantage against teams they’re better than.

We’ll see if they can take care of business and come away from this roadtrip with a winning record.