HOW TO WATCH
Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse - Cleveland, Ohio
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Spread: CLE: -7.0
Detroit Pistons blog: www.detroitbadboys.com
Expected Cavs Starting Lineup:
Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley
Cavs Injury Report: Collin Sexton (Knee, OFS), Jarret Allen (Finger, OUT), Dean Wade (Knee, OUT), Rajon Rondo (ankle, GTD)
Expected Pistons Starting Lineup:
Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Stewart
Pistons Injury Report: Cade Cunningham (non-COVID illness, PROB), Killian Hayes (Head/Concussion, QUEST), Hamidou Diallo (Finger, OUT), Frank Jackson (Back, OUT), Chris Smith (Knee, OUT) Luka Garza (G League, OUT)
Three Things to Watch
The Battle for the Rookie of the Year
Evan Mobley has stepped up with Jarrett Allen sidelined, and his excellent play late yesterday against the Nuggets to help secure the win was huge. Mobley has been excellent of late, flying around defensively and taking on much more of the offensive workload. But the Pistons have been collecting a few more wins lately too, most notably due to Cade Cunningham really getting comfortable and hitting his stride. The rookie point guard has scored at least 20 points in every game in the month of March and has collected 10 assists in two of the last four. His size in the backcourt will be tough to defend and certainly a thing to watch, as the Cavs have had trouble with the Pistons this season for some reason.
Slow Down Saddiq
Pistons forward Saddiq Bey is a hot and cold kinda player, but he was red hot last time out against Orlando. Bey poured in 51 points against the Magic to break out of his recent shooting funk, to the detriment of the Cavs. While Detroit is an awful shooting team, the Cavs have played with fire lately in letting teams get open looks from behind the arc. Bey is one of the Pistons’ few capable shooters, so leaving him open after his explosion a few nights ago could be problematic. With Isaac Okoro likely on Cunningham, the Cavs will need to make sure Saddiq Bey stays in their sights.
Lauri Markannen Keeping it Going
The Cavs have been/still are really banged up, but Lauri Markkanen has played better of late - and boy the Cavs have needed it. His shooting efficiency was down after coming back from injury, but lately, he’s improved. He’s shouting 46.7% from deep in his last four games and poured in 31 last night against the Nuggets. Worth noting, Lauri was fighting his behind off on Nikola Jokic as well, closing up driving lanes and staying in front of the reigning MVP. He will need to help with the interior defense again tonight against Marvin Bagley III, who dropped 16 points on 8/13 shooting the last time these teams faced. But getting Lauri going opens things for the rest of the offense, and the Cavs should try to keep him shooting.