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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Game 27: Pistons at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs have lost seven in a row to the Pistons, including their last four at The Q.

The Cavs' frontcourt wasn't ready for the challenge tonight, not even close.

The Pistons have one of the top frontcourts in the Eastern Conference. For those who didn't think Josh Smith would work in Detroit, think again. He's averaging 23.8 points in his last six games. That includes a season-high 31 points vs. Portland on Dec. 15. He had 25 points against the Cavs, who have no one to guard him.

But let's not forget center Andre Drummond and power forward Greg Monroe. The three players made life miserable for the Cavs tonight.

I didn't like the Alonzo Gee-Smith matchup from the start. He's too big for Zo to handle.

Let's not forget about the Pistons' backcourt. Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been very active. We know Brandon Jennings from his days in Milwaukee. He's very streaky. If he's making his jumper like on Monday, it turned into a long night.

I could make a case the Pistons are better at every position in the starting lineup, with the exception of point guard with Kyrie Irving. And even that spot on this night was up for grabs. Jennings was quite good on Monday.

I'm impressed with the job GM Joe Dumars did in the offseason. There were just two major moves: Signing Smith in free agency and trading Brandon Knight for Jennings. They are much improved and it appears better than the Cavs.

I don't know why, but when I went down to pregame, Pistons coach Mo Cheeks reminded me of former Cavs coach Byron Scott, only not as friendly. The guy has been around the league forever.

They are now 8-6 on the road this year with wins over Miami, Indiana and Boston. Why they are better on the road than they are at The Palace of Auburn Hills, I can't tell you, and neither can Cheeks.

I will say that front line will do a lot of damage to most teams in the league.

Of course, the Cavs are very good at home, at least before Monday. They are now 8-5 at The Q. They're 5-2 in their last seven home games. They have rugged games against Atlanta (Thursday) and Golden State (Sunday) coming up. They play an afternoon matinee in Boston on Saturday.

Unless they snap out of their funk, they could be going on a losing streak.

Guard Kyrie Irving is also very good at home and averages 24.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 13 home games this season.

They were missing shooting guard Dion Waiters on Monday for the third consecutive game. He has tendinitis in his right wrist. They miss his scoring and playmaking desperately, especially when Jarrett Jack doesn't show up like he did on Monday.

I thought the addition of Jack was going to be a huge move for this team. That hasn't been the case for the most part. I hope he's not showing his age. Former GM Wayne Embry said he grew wary of guards that turn 30 years old.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Atlanta at 7 p.m. Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Josh Smith (6-9, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Greg Monroe (6-11, 250)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Andre Drummond (6-11, 279)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6-5, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Brandon Jennings (6-1, 169)
Cavs - C Henry Sims, G Dion Waiters
Pistons - F Tony Mitchell, G Peyton Siva
Tom Washington, Eric Dalen, Pat Fraher


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