The Cleveland Cavaliers under new coach Tyronn Lue, are moving the ball very well and speeding up their pace, but they still have a lot of areas to improve in if they want to go deep into the playoffs. The Cavs will try to take a step up in the right direction and earn a third straight win when they head over to Detroit and play the Pistons on Friday.
Cleveland lost to the Chicago Bulls in Lue’s head coaching debut, but they were able to average 114.5 points when playing and dominating Western Conference clubs, Minnesota and Phoenix, in the last two games while getting used to and adapting to the changes to their system that a new coach brings. “Everything (Lue) preaches we want to try to execute,” Cavaliers star LeBron James told reporters. “It’s not rocket science. What he tells us, we got to do. He’s the head coach and we got to go out and execute that to the best of our abilities.”
The Detroit Pistons too are not ones to be left behind, and are making their moves to step up the competition after back-to-back wins over the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers. Detroit will want to test themselves against a top rival, and playing two hot teams from the Eastern Conference, Cleveland and then later a trip to Toronto, should prove if they are ready to be a playoff threat.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to near-by Detroit to see if they can stay hot after winning seven of their last 10 games and beat the Detroit Pistons at home. Right now they are averaging 101.6 points on 45.3 percent shooting and allowing 95.9 points on 44.3 percent shooting. Superstar LeBron James on his own is averaging 24.9 points and 6.3 assists/ Team mate Kevin Love is averaging 15.7 points and 10.8 rebounds. Even if you look at Kyrie Irving, he is putting out 3.8 assists, and Tristan Thompson is getting 9.3 rebounds. The Cavs are shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc and a solid 72.2 percent from the free throw line. Winning that last eight of their last 10 road games, the Cavs are allowing only 34.1 percent shooting from deep and are getting 44.8 rebounds per game. They are on a roll, and they want to keep their flow going.
The Detroit Pistons will want to find some consistency after winning half of their last 10 games. “If we could ever play consistently for 48 minutes, we’d have a chance to do some big things,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. They’re averaging 101.9 points on 43.3 percent shooting and allowing 100 points on 45.4 percent shooting. Leader Reggie Jackson is averaging 19.3 points and 6.5 assists while team mate Andre Drummond is averaging 17.3 points and 15.2 rebounds. If you look at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope he is getting 1.9 assists and fellow Piston Marcus Morris is grabbing 5.3 rebounds. Detroit is shooting 33.6 percent from beyond the arc and 64.8 percent from the free throw line. The Pistons have won five of their last seven home games, and will look to add to that trend. So far they’re allowing 34.8 percent shooting from deep and are getting 47.5 rebounds per game.
The Cavs are an impressive 32-12 Cleveland, recording a season-high 34 assists in Wednesday’s 115-93 win over the Phoenix Suns. James had a team-high nine. The star forward took only eight shots in the game but he hit seven en route to 21 points. He seems to have connected with Lue’s philosophy. “It was a very efficient night for myself, but the ball was moving and it doesn’t matter who is shooting or taking shots,” James told reporters. “It’s about how we’re getting the ball moving from side to side and do we feel involved and feel comfortable.”
The Pistons are a solid 25-21, and in Wednesday’s 110-97 win over Philadelphia, center Andre Drummond fought back from two bad games and replied with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Drummond’s play made the opponent’s strategy to foul him look pretty bad after he went 7-of-12 from the free-throw line, after a combined 1-of-14 effort in the previous two games. “It was great to see him knock down those free throws and make the 76ers reluctant to guard him and do the ‘Hack-A-Dre’,” said Detroit guard Reggie Jackson to reporters. “I talked to him (Tuesday and) he definitely put in a lot of work, so it’s good to see him make clutch free throws throughout the game.”
At home, the Pistons will be motivated to play and show up the Cavs, and with some elbow grease and hard work they should be able to steal away a victory from a new coach who’s still figuring out how to play his team.
Our Pick: Pistons over Cavaliers 105-102