The last time these two teams played, the Pistons held the Cavs to a meager 61 points in Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Cavs set an NBA playoff record with just 23 points after halftime, including just six from LeBron James, and for the game Cleveland shot just 30.8% from the field. For Pistons fans, it was a cathartic end to a brutal series that clearly caught the hometown team by surprise. For the Cavs, it was a historically brutal end to an otherwise solid season.
Exactly seven months later, the Cavaliers finally get their long-awaited rematch, and on their home floor, no less.These days, though, Cleveland's home floor bears a strong resemblance to Detroit's. You may remember, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is a long-time Pistons fan and has admitted modeling his franchise after the one he grew up watching. In the offseason, he marched one step closer toward his goal of creating a mirror image by hiring away Fred McLeod to take over play-by-play duties for the Cavs. The Cavs are happy to be back home. They fell to 4-8 on the road after dropping games in Orlando on Saturday and New Jersey last night. It's a different story at home, though, where they currently sport an 11-2 record in front of the Cleveland faithful.
Detroit is expected to have Rasheed Wallace back after the big guy missed a couple of games with a sore ankle. His playing time should be capped around 28 minutes, and I'm eager to see how the Bruise Brothers -- Jason Maxiell and Dale Davis -- fare against a legitimate front court (no offense, Seattle and New Jersey). Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas aren't All-StarsYeah, yeah -- Z was back in 2003 and 2005, but I'm talking about now., but they should offer more resistance than Johan Petro and Jason Collins.
And, just for kicks, here's Damon Jones getting punched in the eye, and here's Jones about to make out with LBJ. What's the over/under on how many times he'll flash that annoying three-point hand signal tonight?
The ball is tipped in 30 minutes -- as usual, leave any pre/in/post-game thoughts in the comments.