Game 46: Cavs at Pistons
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: NBA TV, Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavs built a 15-point lead on the Pistons, but then had to hang on at the end for their seventh win in a row. Guard Kyrie Irving was on fire for most of the night and ended with 38 points, which matched his season high. He really deserves a spot on the All-Star team, and I think he's going to get it on Thursday when the reserves are announced.
2. Cavs forward LeBron James added 32 points. So, these two star players combined for 70 of the Cavs' 103 points - or 68 percent of their points. This was the second time this season both James and Irving each scored 30 or more points. The other came at the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 16.
3. The last time these two teams met, the Pistons pounded the Cavs at The Q, 103-80, on Dec. 28. Point guard Brandon Jennings ripped the Cavs for 25 points and six assists. The Cavs won't have to deal with Jennings again this season. He ruptured his left Achilles' tendon (same one as Cavs center Anderson Varejao) and will be lost for the season. The Pistons have replaced him with D.J. Augustin in the starting lineup. He's a quality player, as evidenced by his 19 points and nine rebounds. The problem might be when they go to the bench. Rookie Spencer Dinwiddie is unproven and might not be ready to play. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said before the game the team was searching for another point guard.
4. Van Gundy was talking about how good the Cavs were after the game. He just slipped in there the part that teams don't even game plan for Kevin Love. What? Seriously? That quote could cause a major controversy.
5. The Cavs are one of the hottest teams in the league. They've won seven in a row, which is quite an accomplishment. Of course, Atlanta has won 16 in a row. Now that's crazy. But the Cavs are now 7-1 since James' return on Jan. 13 from a two-week layoff. It might have saved the Cavs season. He's come back a new player. The Cavs have added three new players in Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. They've given the team a shot in the arm, too.
6. If Coach David Blatt doesn't like his team shooting so many 3-pointers, why doesn't he say something to them about it? In their last three games, they are 40 of 98 from behind the arc (41 percent). They have averaged 33 3-point attempts in the last three games. They were just 9 of 34 against the Pistons (26.5 percent). Some of the ugly numbers: Love was 1 of 8, J.R. Smith 1 of 6 and Iman Shumpert 1 of 5.
7. The Pistons have lost four of their last five games after their recent hot streak. Coach Stan Van Gundy has done a good job with this team and had it in playoff contention. They are not responding well to Jennings' loss.
8. The Cavs made major strides defensively during their streak. They're outscoring opponents by an average of 14.8 points (114.3-99.5). They are shooting 49.2 percent from the field during the streak and have held their foes to 42.8 percent. In their last five games, they are holding teams to 93.5 points per game and 39.8 percent shooting from the floor (138 of 347). That's outstanding.
9. They have scored 100 or more points in eight consecutive games. They are 21-4 when they top the 100-point barrier.
10. Their home game against Portland on Wednesday should be a good one. While they are battling in the Motor City on Tuesday, the Trail Blazers have been in Cleveland practicing and resting up for the matchup. I'm predicting a Cavs win.
UP NEXT: vs. Portland, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Wednesday
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Kyle Singler (6-8, 228)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Andre Drummond (6-11, 279)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6-5, 205)
Pistons - G Brandon Jennings