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Cavaliers vs Pistons preview: Quick turnaround as James, Cavs come to town

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LeBron James visits The Palace for the final time.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers game was certainly a let down but there is no time to dwell on opportunities lost as Cleveland visits Auburn Hills tonight. Luckily, though, the Pistons usually come out firing on the second night of a back to back. Ugh.

The season series is split 1-1 with each team winning on their home court with a slight asterisk next to Detroit’s win as LeBron James didn’t play on the December 26th meeting.

Game Vitals

When: March 9th at 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills; Auburn Hills, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

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Analysis

What to watch for:

The Cavs do a lot of things well but transition defense is not one.

The Pistons do some things well but transition offense is not one.

In the Pistons’ December win, however, Detroit was out and running:

If the Pistons can exploit Cleveland’s poor retreating defense it would give them multiple chances for easy buckets. Paging Mr. Smith, a Mr. Ish Smith.

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LeBron James and four members of the Fear the Sword community would have a chance at winning any game. If you surround James with shooters, the chances of winning increases exponentially and that’s exactly what the Cavaliers have done.

Spot-ups are a large chunk of Cleveland’s offense and with LBJ at the helm, finding openings in the defense is a given.

Both Kevin Love and Kyle Korver are out tonight but the Cavs still have Channing Frye, Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson and the possible return of JR Smith to light up the spot-ups.

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An amazing 73 percent of all Cleveland isolation possessions come from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and both excel in those situations.

Keep Jon Leuer in your thoughts and prayers:

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Cleveland’s defense is susceptible to both the ball handler and the rolling/popping big in the PNR. For all the good Kyrie Irving provides on offense, the other end of the court needs a tune up.

Detroit must expose Irving for the defensive liability he is.

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Strictly speaking on basketball aesthetics, I love LBJ as the screen setter in the PNR and wish Cleveland did it more. They had no problem utilizing it in their first meeting:

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Projected Lineups

Cleveland

Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, LeBron James, Richard Jefferson

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Jon Leuer, Marcus Morris

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Prediction

I don’t like the looks of this.

Cavaliers 104, Pistons 98