The Pistons are on the road once again to battle with its old rivals in the Cleveland Cavaliers. The last meeting between these teams ended in a heartbreaking loss for the Pistons, where they held a 17-point lead at one point. With a win tonight, the Cavs would improve to 3-0 for the season series against Detroit.
Tonight can be a pretty close game. The Cavs feature rookie sensation Kyrie Irving, who is in the driver’s seat for Rookie of the Year. The Cavs just a couple weeks ago looked like they might have been a contender for the eight seed in the East, but they now have lost four in a row, seven of their last eight and are 6 1/2 games back. Irving is averaging 18.6 PPG, 5.7 AST with a PER of 21.50 on the season. But, in his last three games, is only averaging 13.7 points and a lot of that has to do with teams not allowing him to penetrate—and forcing him to take jump shots. He averages 5.9 shots per game at the rim, the fourth-highest among point guards in the top-15 in scoring.
The Cavs also feature the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft, Tristan Thompson. Thompson is very raw, but he’s now been starting for the Cavs the last several games.
And they have dealt with a couple injury issues this year—most notably with
Sideshow Bob Anderson Varejao, who has been out most of the season with a broken wrist. And they recently learned that Daniel Gibson will most likely be gone for the year with a torn tendon in his ankle.
The Pistons are coming off a win thanks to a game-winning shot by Rodney Stuckey on Monday night vs. the Washington Wizards, which snapped a four-game losing streak. They have lost so many close games lately, but finally broke through—even though the game was pretty brutal to watch until the end.
If you’re interested in lottery balls, then whoever loses this game can be huge, considering the fact that both teams are only separated by one game.
Game Tips at 7:00 p.m. EST
Detroit Pistons: 17-32 (5-20 road)
Cleveland Cavaliers: 17-30 (9-15 home)
Keys to the game:
Pack it in on Irving: Sure, Irving is a good jumper shooter, but I’d rather have him take those than getting into the lane and creating havoc. Plus, he’s only shooting 42% in his last 10 games.
Feature Stuckey: I’ve never seen Stuckey play as well has he has been for close to two months now. We’ve seen it in four to five game stretches in the past, but never for this long.
Play Austin Daye: With Ben Gordon questionable, I’d like to see the Pistons bring Daye off the bench and play shooting guard. You know Tayshaun Prince is going to get his usual 30-35 minutes, so it’s unlikely he gets playing time at the small forward position.
Question of the game:
I was actually talking to this Cavs fan the other day, and we mentioned that if Greg Monroe and Irving were in the same draft, knowing what you know now, who would you take first? I can see an argument for both sides, really.