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2013 NBA Preseason: Pistons run out of gas, fall to Cavs 96-84

Apparently Detroit wasn't ready for two games in two nights.

Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons played the second game of a back-to-back for the first time this season and they weren't ready for it, falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-84 in Cleveland.

The Pistons seemed off all night, struggling for positioning on both ends of the floor, couldn't box out, and were unable to establish much of a rhythm to their offense. Despite this, they led at halftime and were neck and neck with Cleveland in the third quarter but at some point the team just appeared to run out of gas.

In the fourth quarter, the point guards were a total nonfactor. Several times an entry pass was made to a wing or a big man and it was strictly isolation ball from there. And if it wasn't it was a bad pass, a bad decision and, eventually, a turnover. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Pistons had turned it over seven times, allowing the Cavs to turn that into 12 points.

That also happens to be the Cavs' margin of victory.

The team again shot less than 40 percent for the game (38.7 percent) and had more turnovers (21) than assists (19).

It's a shame that the team couldn't keep a fight up for all four quarters as Greg Monroe finally looked ready to put up a big game. He started the game 6-of-9, but missed his final six shots. Moose finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds.

Josh Smith also posted positive numbers early, filling up the stat line to the tune of 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks. Unfortunately, he also had six turnovers and forced some bad shots and bad passes late in the game.

Andre Drummond, meanwhile, was held to just eight points and 11 rebounds as Anderson Verajeo and Mike Brown's team defense gave him trouble all night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had another rough night shooting (1-of-7), but had a nice showing on defense, deflecting balls and bothering shots.

In his first action of the preseason, Chauncey Billups looked like he was interested in shaking the rust off his shot, shooting early and often.

The Cavs got great contributions from many places, especially their bench. Anthony Bennett had 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting including 2-of-3 from 3. More surprisingly, Henry Sims was 4-of-5 Earl Clark was 5-of-9 for 10 points and Jermaine Taylor was 6-of-10 with 15 points.

All in all, it was a disappointing effort for the team and isn't going to quiet any critics who are wondering how this team is going to establish a functional offense. Of course, it would help if the team had a point guard like Brandon Jennings or a shooter like Luigi Datome, but until those two come back they are going to have to figure out how to make things work.