Right around the trade deadline, the Cavaliers were above the Pistons in the standings and they were in a potential fight for the 8th seed with Milwaukee and New York. Then they lost 10 of their next 11 games. Then Kyrie Irving injured his shoulder. The Cavs are in no rush to bring him back. With a loss to the Pistons tonight (and another W by New Orleans), the Cavs will climb to the 3rd best odds in the 2012 Draft Lottery while the Pistons fall to 10th. If you're curious about how to tank properly, this is how you do it.
Game Tips at 7:30 PM EST
Cleveland Cavaliers: 20 - 39 (10 - 19 road)
Detroit Pistons: 22 - 38 (15 - 14 home)
No Irving, no Varejao, no Boobie and no Semih. Most importantly, no Ramon!! That leaves Cleveland with a starting lineup of Donald Sloan, Anthony Parker, Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison and Tristan Thompson. And it leaves me with very little to talk about. So let's ignore Cleveland, yeah? That's what everyone has done since The Decision anyway...
Let's talk about Detroit. Apparently, Larry Frank and Joey D finally read the report I wrote for them in March. Frank will play Jonas Jerebko at the 3 tonight. Macklin will appear, logging some time up front along with our pal Charlie. Larry Frank has said that he's going to be doing some experimenting in these last six games, but I have a feeling these experiments will pay off in terms of wins, not lottery balls. I'm conflicted.
The sad thing about these experiments is that the outcome is predictable. The team will likely perform better with Jonas at the 3, which just about every DBBer has been calling for since he's been healthy. The problem is that Frank will likely start the 2012-13 season with Tayshaun Prince right back in the starting lineup at small forward. That's like running a successful drug trial and then refusing to hand that drug out to patients.
Personally, I'd love to see a starting lineup with Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko, Vernon Macklin and Greg Monroe. That's 6'5", 6'11", 6'10", 6'10" and 6'11". TALL BALL FTW.
Keys to the Game:
Feed the Moose: Because good things happen when the Moose is fed.
Don't Pass to Tayshaun: Wouldn't that be hilarious if the other four on the court never let Tay have the ball? Ignore him when he's open, fight with him for rebounds, pretend like he's not even there. I think his head would explode.
Try Harder than the Other Guys: Yes, I'm totally mailing in these keys to the game. But so are all the lottery teams. A win tonight will pretty much go to whichever team tries harder, given that these teams are roughly equivalent in the talent department.
Question of the Game:
What's more valuable: the confidence gained from a couple more wins and the 10th pick, or no confidence gained and the 3rd pick?