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Pistons vs. Cavaliers Preview: Detroit welcomes the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Eastern Conference champs

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Unfortunately, with LeBron gone the Cavs still find themselves winless on the young season

Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Coming off Blake Griffin’s phenomenal 50-point performance against the 76ers, the question in Detroit is - how will this team respond? The Cavaliers (0-4) travel to Little Caesars Arena, on the second night of a back-to-back, looking for their first scratch of the year. They’re a team who’s wallowing in no-mans land, indecisive of whether to scratch and claw for the eighth seed in the East, or blow this sucker up - with speculation that they’ll favor the latter by season’s end.

And while Detroit should be a better team than Cleveland this season, who most notably lost LeBron James in free agency this past summer, there are no guaranteed wins at any point in the NBA calendar.

The Pistons should have learned a lot from last year, as they hurt their chances at making the playoffs by not consistently beating the bottom tier teams of the Eastern Conference, having only managed to go 14-8 against the teams that missed the 2018 playoffs. Perhaps this team is different from last year, and they’ll continue to pile up wins against the non-playoff teams.

Game Vitals

When: Thursday, October 26 7:00 pm EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit MI
Watch: FSN Detroit, NBA League Pass

Marquee Matchup

Blake Griffin v. Kevin Love

Griffin

Sample size be damned, Blake Griffin’s play so far this season has been nothing short of mesmerizing. As noted, he just dropped a 50 piece on the 76ers, and is currently averaging a jaw-dropping 36.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists on 53 percent shooting from the floor and 61 percent from deep.

It’s not that Griffin is simply rolling out the same game that he displayed last season in Detroit, he’s been mindful of the shot spectrum, and his improved health has allowed him to get deep into the paint, bullying bigs and dominating switches, making for easy looks at the cup for himself and his teammates. His resurgent strength has also opened up his looks off the dribble, and cleared the airways for open threes.

Love

Kevin Love is a great player, on a questionable roster. He’s the Cavs most valuable trade chip, and will be the main reason behind Cleveland’s turnaround if they’re able to start winning games. And while Love is Cleveland’s best option, his play has dipped a bit since LeBron left for LA. He’s averaging 20.7 points, 14.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game, while shooting a dismal 30.4 percent from the floor (on pace for the worst shooting year of his career) and 26 percent from three.

**Ed update: Kevin Love will be out tonight to duck Blake Griffin because of a sore foot

Prediction

The winless Cavaliers will come into Detroit with a chip on their shoulder, they are the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Eastern Conference champions, after all. With that being said, they are on the second night of a back-to-back, and Detroit is feeling themselves right now.

Detroit 103, Cleveland 93

Community Question

What are your keys to the game? And are you concerned about Detroit’s ability to focus after their emotional OT win?