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Pistons 115, Cavs 92 — Final thoughts

By Ryan Lewis Published: December 23, 2013

I'm filling in for Jason again, the master of final thoughts. The Cavs were crushed by 23 tonight at home by the Pistons. 

1. First thought is that there won't be 23 thoughts. This one was ugly. It's the worst home loss of the season for the Cavs and the third 20-point loss overall. 

2. Somehow, it felt like this game wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated. The Cavs were crushed in just about every part of the game. There was little energy on defense. Almost no help. Brandon Jennings dribbled circles around the Cavs. Andre Drummond was a force. Josh Smith moved around at will. 

3. The Pistons shot 48 percent from the floor and 41 percent from 3-point range. The Cavs shot 27 percent in the first half. Through midway in the second quarter, the Pistons had as many points in the paint (26) as the Cavs' point total. Detroit finished with 58 points in the paint. 

4. Coach Mike Brown had two themes in his post-game presser. The first was that the Cavs' urgency has been "nonexistent" the last two games. Even in two of the Cavs' recent wins (Milwaukee, Portland), Brown didn't think the urgency was there. "I'm not sure why we're playing like that defensively," he said. 

5. The second point Brown made was that the Cavs settled with their shot selection tonight. Even when the Cavs kept missing, they still kept settling. Brown called that "disturbing." 

6. Forward Tristan Thompson said after the game that he agreed with Brown, that the urgency hasn't been there on defense. He also said, simply, the Cavs didn't follow Brown's game plan tonight to be physical with Detroit's forwards. He said that when the team doesn't follow the coach's game plan, "we're going to get our butts handed to us." 

7. Andrew Bynum was 0-for-11 tonight in 22 minutes. He, Jarrett Jack, C.J. Miles, and Earl Clark combined to shoot 4-for-36. 

8. The Pistons led by 10 after the first quarter, by 18 at halftime and by 25 entering the fourth quarter. We were waiting for the Cavs at least make things interesting. It just never happened. The closest the Cavs got was 11 points in the third quarter, led in part by Thompson, who had 17 points and six rebounds. 

9. Kyrie Irving scored nearly half (19) of the Cavs' first-half points. But he ended up with only 21. 

10. Backup center Tyler Zeller, playing in garbage time, finished with 13 points. This wasn't a real factor in the game, but it was nice to see him get some minutes. Brown talked before the game about how Zeller has been playing well enough and hard enough in practice to warrant some more playing time, but that he was road-blocked by Bynum, Varejao, Thompson and company. 

11. Yes, the Cavs were without Dion Waiters tonight, who missed his third straight game with tendinitis in his right wrist. Waiters was wearing a brace on that wrist in the locker room before the game. 

12. Rookie forward Anthony Bennett returned to action after missing a few games tonight. And he's really sick. When talking to him before the game, Bennett had to stop taking questions for a minute to remove some phlegm from his system. He also has asthma, and says being sick makes it 50 times worse. The concern there is that Bennett is struggling with his own conditioning. He said his chest was sore after shoot-around this morning, but he's fighting through it. 

13. Seven Pistons ended up in double-figures. This is mostly only due to garbage time points. But still. 

14. The Pistons are a better team on the road than at home, so give them credit. Coach Maurice Cheeks said he has no idea why that's the case this season. But a 23-point beating at home can't be attributed to one stat. It goes back to the coach of a struggling team calling out his players for their sense of urgency. 

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