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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Game 58: Cavs at Pistons

The Palace of Auburn Hills
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio

1. The Cavaliers trailed by 14 points, 67-53, with 10:44 left in the third quarter. All that did was fuel some of the best defense you'll see in the NBA this season. They were exploited for 35 points in the second quarter by the Pistons. Yet, in the second half, those Pistons managed just 31 points. They were outscored in the second half, 49-31. They shot just 30.8 percent from the field in the second half, 40.2 percent in the game. It was a swarming defensive effort. It was impressive.

2. The Cavs now face the league's best team - the Golden State Warriors - at home on Thursday. I think they'll win that game. They've now won 17 of their last 19. It will be 18 out of 20 after Thursday.

3.  The Cavs are now 2-1 vs. Detroit this season. Both of their wins in the series have come at The Palace. Explain that one. The Cavs are now 15-13 on the road this season. They finished their post-All-Star Game road trip with a 3-0 mark.

4. This game had a playoff feel to it. It was so important for both teams. The Pistons are 2-1 since their two trade deadline deals of acquiring guard Reggie Jackson (from Oklahoma City) and forward Tayshaun Prince (from Boston). They are 1 1/2 games behind No. 8 Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Cavs are a half-game back of No. 3 Chicago.

5. The Cavs will be playing without forward Shawn Marion (strained hip), who could miss at least two weeks. He had fallen out of Coach David Blatt's rotation. Now, we know why. It's going to be hard to find minutes for Marion after the addition of Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, but the former might be able to help out in the playoffs. With Marion sidelined, James Jones has been getting some playing time. Jones has played well.

6. In three games following the All-Star break, the Cavs have won by an average of 22 points.

7. Operating against the Pistons' massive frontcourt of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, Cavs center Timofey Mozgov was dominant tonight. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four blocks. He is really making a huge impression on this team.

8. Newly signed center Kendrick Perkins made his Cavs' debut in the second quarter. He had two points and two fouls in two minutes. He was signed earlier in the day for the rest of the season. He took his physical on Monday. He is one tough hombre, not a guy you want to mess with.

9. Cavs power forward Kevin Love was coming off a 16-point, 16-rebound outing vs. New York. He was equally as impressive on Tuesday with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds. He was 8 of 14 from beyond the arc. The eight 3s tied his career high. Detroit's bigs just didn't want to venture out to the 3-point line to defend him. He's playing extremely well. Since entering the league in 2008-09, only Houston's Dwight Howard (6,220) has more rebounds than Love (5,023).

10. The Cavs have a point differential of +12.3 in their last 19 games, first in the NBA. They are also first in field-goal accuracy (47.9 percent) and 3-pointers made (201) during that span. They are third in points per game (108.,6) and fifth in 3-point accuracy (37.2 percent). Now, one can see why they are zooming up the East standings.

11. They are 29-4 on the season when they score 100 or more points. They've also won their last 15 games when topping the 100-point plateau.

12. They have scored 30 or more first-quarter points in 10 of their last 12 games. On their three-game road trip, they are outscoring the teams in the first quarter, 33.7-23.3. On the season, they are averaging 27.7 points in the first quarter, second only to Golden State's 28.6.

13. Since waiving forward Josh Smith on Dec. 22, it's turned the Pistons' season around. They are 18-11 since the controversial move by Coach/President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy.

UP NEXT: vs. Golden State, Quicken Loans Arena, 8 p.m. Thursday

SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Tashaun Prince (6-9, 215)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Greg Monroe (6-11, 250)
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)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Reggie Jackson (6-3, 208)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, F Shawn Marion
Pistons - G Brandon Jennings
David Jones, Bennie Adams, Scott Twardoski


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