DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons are a team the Cavaliers will see a lot of during the course of the season and one that will represent a roadblock to the team’s desire to win the Central Division crown.
This is a different team, however, in that Coach Flip Saunders is gone, replaced by Michael Curry shortly after the end of last season’s. Being completely blunt, I’ve not seen these Pistons in any form or fashion yet. But what will be interesting to see is how he interacts with his players and whether he’s overhauled Saunders’ philosophy. He knows the players, primarily because he played with any of them. That might be a benefit. Then again… LeBron James will not play.
Game: Cavaliers (2-5) vs. Detroit Pistons (6-1)
Broadcast: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: Sasha Pavlovic (F); Ben Wallace (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Mo Williams (G); Delonte West (G). Pistons: Tayshaun Prince (F); Amir Johnson (F); Rasheed Wallace (C); Chauncey Billups (G); Richard Hamilton (G).
Officials: Derrick Stafford, Pat Fraher and Derrick Collins
Streaking: The Cavaliers have won two in a row.
What to watch: We’ll get to see how Delonte West plays in his first start at the shooting guard position in the preseason. His work at the point has looked good. Sasha Pavlovic had a decent night in Philadelphia Tuesday scoring a total of 9 points. More importantly it’s time to see how Mo Williams is working into the offense. With last Saturday’s ejection he missed valuable time there. Coach Mike Brown made up for it by giving him 32 minutes Tuesday night…See if Anderson Varejao can keep playing to the level he’s established the past couple of games.
In the coach’s office.
Mike Brown on resting LeBron James: Before the season started he and I sat down and talked about it – taking a game off or possibly two games off because of all the basketball he’s played. And we agreed it was going to be this game.
Apparently a little loyalty to the good folks of Columbus went into the decision: People in Columbus it’s a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive for them to get a chance to see a player like LeBron play. He wants to play in a place like Columbus. He wants to play in a place like Pittsburgh to be able to allow other fans who might not be able to see him play in their hometown.
From the locker room: Anderson Varejao has quietly made a statement the past two games as he’s 11-of-13 shooting for the past few games.
Post game analysis: Personally, I had the same thought as Alan. This one proved competitive to start as the Cavs and Pistons tied 40-40 going into the half.
It went to hell after as the Cavs fell completely apart on defense, while the Pistons amped it up ,significantly.
Rodney Stuckey, the Pistons backup guard, torched the Cavs for 20 points add another 15 for guard Richard "Rip" Hamilton. Stuckey got 14 his points while matched up against Daniel Gibson for much of the second half. The Pistons guard drove and created scoring opportunities for this teammates. At times it looked as if the Cavs were standing still.
The numbers bear that out: fast break points - 21 for the Pistons, just 4 for the Cavaliers. The Pistons also clobbered them in the paint beating the Cavs 32-22 there. Add those two factors and the fact that 16 Cavaliers' 16 turnovers led to 17 Pistons points and you have the making of the ugliness displayed in the second half. Offensively, it's easy to appreciate the 16 points that Gibson produced, but if he's going to have to produce on the defensive side, also.
Of course all of this happened without LeBron James on the floor, but what happens if he goes down? Someone's going to have to step up for the Cavaliers.
Mike Brown on the Pistons performance:
‘’You have to give that team credit for being active and lively. And that’s what that team’s going to be (during the season).’’
Brown on the Cavs' problems:
‘’Two areas have bothered us in the preseason. Fast break points and transition (defense) and turnovers. They are two areas I’m very, very concerned about.’’