2:45 p.m. -- Pistons 13, Cavs 11. I got a lot of flak from e-mailers about my story today about Daniel Gibson only being a quick fix because he's not a true point guard. Lots of people think I'm way off. Well, in the first seven minutes here, I've seen Chauncey Billups repeatedly burn Gibson defensively. He had three assists and Gibson has two fouls. I assume Eric Snow will be in after this timeout.
Also...Chris Webber can't really guard Zydrunas Ilgauskas, can he? Larry Hughes is wearing high socks for the first time all year. Hmmmm. They will call it one in the end, but this game is not a sellout. There are rows of open seats. I guess the Super Bowl is more important than Cavs-Pistons.
2:54 p.m. -- Pistons 22, Cavs 19. This game is not being played at the pace I thought. Both teams are working for and taking good shots and both are shooting 50 percent and both are doing it by looking to drive and attack. Ultimately you have to believe the defense will win out.
Also...Drew Gooden has two assists already, he averaged .7 per game. This could be a special afternoon. Sasha was in the game 10 seconds before getting his first assist, wow, maybe he should play point guard. He's coming off a career high in assists...Hughes is still firing jumpers, but at least he's doing them off picks today, which is better than in transition.
3:03 p.m. -- End of the first quarter, Pistons 27, Cavs 24. The Pistons offense is moving quicker than the Cavs defense thus far. They are really precise in their passes. Chris Webber has nine points and five rebounds, how about that for an addition? LeBron is driving to the basket and he's getting high percentage shots. As a result, he's 4-of-6 for eight points. He needs to keep it up, he will struggle to shoot over Tayshaun Prince.
Also...Let me just say, it is not my intention to bash Gibson. I think he's got a great career ahead of him, I just question whether he is the point guard answer at this time.
3:09 p.m. -- Cavs 30, Pistons 27. Sasha is a superstar...against Carlos Delfino. When Sasha plays with confidence, like he is now, his potential is unlimited. You can really see the difference in the Pistons without Ben Wallace. There is no basket defender in there, when the Cavs beat their defender on the outside, they can get to the rim. The Cavs have 16 points in the paint, you all know I think that's beautiful. Let's see what Flip Saunders does here, who he puts on Sasha and what defensive adjustments he makes.
3:12 p.m. -- Pistons 33, Cavs 30. Two Cavs possessions, two long 3-pointers, 6-0 Pistons run. Seen it before?
3:28 p.m. -- Pistons 41, Cavs. The Cavs are shooting 53 percent and losing at home. Opps, that's not good. The Pistons are staying in this game with offensive rebounds and free throws. Like a good team does. The Cavs performing well on offense, but on defense they are getting caught in rotation a lot. They may need to stay more up on their own men.
Also...Sasha is working hard on defense. He's stuffed Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups on drives already...Jason Maxiell may be the best two-handed dunker in the NBA after Shaq...Gee, the Cavs couldn't get a defensive rebound at the same basket in a certain game last year.
3:45 p.m. -- Halftime, Pistons 50, Cavs 43. Good teams end quarters strongly, the Pistons ended with a 9-2 run to get this halftime lead. Detroit might have some chinks in the armour, but they are playing with all the poise they have displayed for years. Both teams are shooting better than 50 percent from the field, which does not favor the Cavs because they are less likely to keep it up.
Also...Mike Brown has been on the officials about James not getting any calls in the first half. He did drive a number of times yet only drew one shooting foul. Brown might've suggested that Dwyane Wade would've gotten five calls...It hurt the Cavs that Anderson Varejao was in foul trouble in the first half, especially since one of the fouls was a cheap one about 25 feet from the basket.
4:05 p.m. -- Pistons 62, Cavs 55. The Cavs are playing pretty hard and hustling, but until they start getting stops they are going to have a big problem in this one. Drew letting Rasheed get deep post position and Z allowing Webber to amble down the baseline on one leg just isn't going to get it done today.
Also...I never seen a delay of game technical actually called. The funny thing is Flip Saunders thought the T was on him and starting chirping at official Scott Foster, who Larry Hughes threw the ball to after his basket.
4:14 p.m -- Pistons 66, Cavs 57. The Cavs offense is starting to grind and the Pistons show no signs of slowing. It is as this time when the Cavs could use a post play to either LeBron or Z, anything for a high percentage shot. We'll see.
Also...Look, maybe he'll prove me wrong, but I just don't think Gibson is the answer at PG at this point in time. Today he's played 17 minutes and has no assists. Maybe he'll have seven in the fourth, I don't know, I'm just not convinced. Sorry. By the way, the other guy running the point, Hughes, has one assist in 28 minutes. Ahem.
4:22 p.m. -- End of the third quarter. Pistons 70, Cavs 59. You've seen this before, the Pistons wearing down the Cavs. Frankly, right now they just look like the better team. Perhaps the Cavs will mount one of the usual fourth-quarter runs. But the Pistons help defense has been better all day and their offense has been more fluid finding the open man out of double teams. The Cavs only made six baskets in the third and five of them were layups. They have 38 points in the paint, that is good. But they can't make an outside shot, largely because so many of them are bad outside shots. LeBron started 4-of-6 and is just 1-of-6 since, he only had two points in the third. If there's going to be a comeback, he's going to have to do something.
Also...Andy Varejao just drew his 49th charge by my personal unofficial count. Sasha's increased minutes have come at the direct penalty of Damon Jones. Sasha has earned his time of late, but what has Damon done to deserve fewer minutes? Not sure it will go over so well.
4:30 p.m. -- Oooh, the Cavs offense isn't looking like it is going to get it done. I just watched Hughes dribble for 12 seconds and not even look to pass. Nice. Unless the get a horde of defensive stops that led to transition baskets, this one is over. Just another Pistons classic.
Also...Antonio McDyess, how'd you like to bring that sweet-shooting big man off your bench? The Cavs had four fouls less than two minutes into the fourth, is that good?
Oh and KJ, this isn't about what sort of point guard Gibson will be in three years, it is about today. I'm talking about the point guard position today. The Cavs are trying to beat the Pistons THIS year.
4:40 p.m. -- Pistons 79, Cavs 69. This one isn't over yet, the Cavs will still have the emotional edge if they can just get a few defensive stops. But they simply can't score in the halfcourt. I'd try Varejao to run pick-and-rolls with James and I'd put in Gibson or Damon Jones to shoot 3's off penetration. The Pistons are collapsing three or four guys in the paint and the ball isn't going back out. Big Z isn't getting it done in there. All starts with the defensive stops, though. Then they gotta run.
4:57 p.m. Pistons 90, Cavs 78. Better offensive team won. Better defensive team won. Deeper team won. Better coached team won. The Pistons had five guys in double figures, they got contributions up and down the lineup. Other than Sasha, who had 12 points, I don't think anyone on the Cavs played a good game. Perhaps Mike Brown didn't like what he saw, but I'm a little curious why Varejao played just 13 minutes and Damon Jones played just five. I thought they could've used those guys on offense. LeBron had 21 points, but he was just 9-of-22, another below average effort. Z got a lot of minutes (32) and had 12 and 11, but he didn't get it done the fourth quarter yet stayed out there. Pretty weak effort all around.
That's five straight losses on national television and all have been pretty undressing in one way or another. It's no wonder the Cavs don't get much respect, they haven't earned very much. This is another game where the Cavs' flaws were displayed. Today they were simply outclassed, from the superstar on down. They have a lot of work to do and a long way to go. We knew this before, we still know it.
Thanks for checking this little attempt at live blogging out. Let me know if you like it and I'll try it again in the future.