The Cavs led by six at the half thanks to their young and quicker than quick guards Darius Garland and Collin Sexton getting to wherever they wanted to on the court. Veteran Cedi Osman was on fire and scored 15 in the opening half.
Detroit gave themselves some breathing room with a 33 to 22 third quarter. Detroit’s swarming defense, Cleveland’s carelessness, and Jerami Grant’s all-around play spurred the momentum shift.
Detroit was outscored 20 to 15 in the final frame. Both club’s offense went to the dogs. Two major head-scratchers on the good guy’s side was Derrick Rose’s questionable shot selection and decision-making late, and Jerami Grant’s total lack of awareness of the shot clock on Detroit’s very last regulation possession, which resulted in a shot clock violation and gave the Cavs the ball with four seconds left with the score tied.
Andre Drummond made several free throws down the stretch to help the Cavs get this game to overtime. The Cavs perimeter and interior defense held the Pistons scoreless the last four minutes and five seconds of regulation.
Drummond missed a ton of shots during his super aggressive (may as well say he shot 200 times in this game because it sure felt like it) return to Detroit. However, the big man more than made his presence felt on the glass and on defense. He was also 9-of-14 from the free-throw line.
Third-year combo guard Collin Sexton played like a potential perennial star with 32 points and killer defense much of the game. Darius Garland is a more flashy player but was an efficient 9-of-14 on his way to 21 points and 12 helpers.
These teams combined for 40 turnovers. It was an entertaining game but not necessarily crisply or smartly played.
Hayes played just 5 minutes in the first quarter before Rose subbed in. Hayes is struggling with defense among other things, that much is clear. He settled in more in the 2nd quarter with several savvy passes and drives. Most of his work didn’t show up positively in the box score, but the feel of the game and the talent is there.
Delon was aggressive looking to drive the lane and made his share of winning plays. He had trouble (as did the whole team) with keeping up with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Delon scored 19 on just nine shots, though his plus-minus in 42 minutes was a minus-23.
Jerami got out on the break, got to his sweet spots on the court, and was overall fairly aggressive in 43 sound minutes. He scored 28 points on 14 shots. His big blunder, as I mentioned earlier, was an inexcusable lack of awareness of the time late in the game.
Blake drilled his first two three-pointers. And then missed one. He then drilled a bunch more (six total in half number one). His teammates knew he was in rhythm and made sure they found him. Blake didn’t look comfortable posting up or driving to the hoop, and he looked unable to be much of a force against the attacking style of the Cav’s offense. Blake looks far from 100 percent, and his lack of burst and lateral movement is concerning. Blake played a team-high 44 minutes as Dwane Casey road his starters with Rose swapped in for Hayes down the stretch. He eventually ran out of gas and wasn’t an offensive weapon late.
Plumlee forced Drummond into some tough shots early in the first quarter (it was clear Dre was extremely anxious and pumped facing his old franchise). Mason’s help defense left a lot to be desired in the first half, as often times he was out of position. He was careless with the rock multiple times driving to the hoop and fouled out for good measure.
The rookie saw his first NBA action with an appearance in the second quarter. He didn’t look rattled. He drew a shooting foul in the paint after taking his man off the dribble after a shot fake. Bey missed both his field-goal attempts in four first-half minutes, though both were good shots. He had a cameo in the fourth quarter.
Svi came off the bench in the first quarter firing away. After a 1-for-8 showing opening night, he drilled his first trey and also drove the lane for a shifty left-handed finish. Despite Svi’s re-emergence on offense, Cav’s backup point guard Dante Exum presented a challenge for him on the defensive end. Svi simply couldn’t stay in front of the Australian backup. Svi did not see any PT in the second quarter. His second half had some good and bad as well.
His seven first-half minutes might have been Sekou’s worst string of minutes as an NBAer: rushed shots, poor and late defense — I could go on and on. Casey did put him in late for defensive purposes after Plumlee fouled out.
Josh had a few energetic moments early on in his eight first-half minutes, however the ball didn’t find him much in scoring opportunities and he wasn’t as aggressive as he could have been either. He rebounded the ball but was otherwise a non-factor.
I’ll have to watch his minutes more closely but he didn’t play much better defense than you and I did sitting in our easy chairs tending to our beverages tonight.
Rose twice in the closing moments of regulation and in the first overtime turned the ball over in frantic and excruciating fashion. Drummond gets some credit as he was switched on to Rose and got his quick paws involved. In short, Rose was mostly awful in this game from many standpoints. His box score in this case indeed does not lie.