Pregame Starting lineups:
Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Pistons: Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace
Officials: Ron Garretson, Violet Palmer, Mary Ayotte...Garretson was here for the Brawl Game, Palmer loves to call traveling on Z, and Ayotte and Damon Jones have a bit of a history, he ejected Jones in a game last season.
--This is the Cavs fourth game in five nights and comes off an overtime game. The Pistons have had a few days off. This matters in these games, not sure you are going to see a true rivalry game tonight. Especially hard hit might by Ilgauskas, who played 44 minutes last night and in general isn't great on back-to-backs. The Pistons may get to have their fun in this one. --Rasheed missed the last two games with knee soreness and Hamilton is coming off the flu, we'll see if there are any effects on them. Wallace is toughest on the Cavs when he his willing to play with his back to the basket and not just chuck 3s. Sometimes it seems like it depends on his mood. --Look for the Pistons to try to get very physical with the Cavs, especially with the big men. That especially includes Jason Maxiell, whose energy has always given the Cavs problems. Might be interesting to see Dwayne Jones bang with him tonight for a few minutes. Also, you'll get probably a look at the Pistons young shot-blocking specialist, Cheikh Samb. --There just isn't a whole lot of respect for the Cavs here, the Pistons feel like they lost last year and the Cavs didn't win. Those respect issues pop up everywhere, even the Cavs locker room. On the door, five years after the logo switched, the Pistons still put up the old Cavs logo. --The Palace is a great arena, it's 20 years old and is still one of the best in the NBA. But its staging areas are too small. One of the things that happens is the dance team has to go through its rehearsal on the loading dock before the game. It is apparently very popular here at the Palace, when I walked through to go to the Cavs locker room an hour ago there were dozens and dozens of employees who came to watch.
Halftime -- Pistons 48, Cavs 43 --If the Pistons want this game they can have it. The Cavs legs look very heavy, which really shows up in rebouding and on defensive rotations. LeBron's already hurt himself twice. The Cavs are the best rebounding team in the league and are getting beat up pretty bad. They have have even gone to some zone because they're trying to contain the Pistons movement a little bit. That said, if they make the mistake of letting the Cavs/LeBron hang around it could bite them. --Ira Newble was guarding Antonio McDyess in the first quarter. Um, no. --Chauncey Billups has made it his mission to hold down Daniel Gibson after Game 6 last season. He did it in the preseason and he's being very physical with him tonight. --Maxiel's energy is hurting the Cavs and Dwayne Jones has not yet looked like he's going to have one of his productive nights. This could end up deciding the game. --Both Z and Drew are having energy issues and as a result the Cavs are not scoring in the paint. That and the Pistons are going a pretty good job on defense and challenging inside shots. The Cavs probably are going to need to get hot from the outside, which is very possible, if they have a chance to win. That or turn up the defense big time.
Postgame -- Pistons 109, Cavs 74 Stars: Tayshaun Prince, 16 points Richard Hamilton, 18 points, six assists
--Based on the way things were going this was probably going to be a loss no matter what. The Cavs just didn't have anything close to the energy the Pistons were bringing. They got beat on the boards, 43-23, which should tell you everything you need to know. But after LeBron got hurt, the damage to the Cavs' mentally was obvious and they packed it in pretty quick. --There is another blog entry on the LeBron injury, all the info is there. --I don't think any further analysis is needed on this one
Quotes: Mike Brown: "Detroit brought more energy than we did. You could see it in the way they set screens, got out in transition and you could see it in rebounding the ball." Drew Gooden: "It was more of a surprise than anything because I didn't know anything of (the injury) until we stepped on the floor and I didn't see him. But we still have to find a way to fight through adversity."