Cavaliers at Pistons Preview
The Cavs took each of the first two matchups against Detroit this year. They captured a thrilling 128-119 win in double overtime on December 27 to begin their season 2-0. The lone game in Cleveland on January 28 turned into a 122-107 win for the Cavs.
Let’s take a look at where both teams stand heading into Monday’s contest to gain a better understanding of what is to come.
As has been the case all season, JB Bickerstaff’s bunch have shown signs of progression. The side is coming off a pair of losses to Golden State and Chicago but had won three of five games prior.
Collin Sexton missed a pair of games a week ago with a groin injury but is back to his All-Star-worthy play. The third-year guard dropped 30 against Golden State on Thursday night and has now put up 20 or more points in each of his last nine games played.
Isaac Okoro, the team’s first-round pick from 2020, has continued to shine as a rookie defensively. He has at least one steal in 12 of his last 16 games. The Auburn product has started in 51 of the team’s 55 games this season. Only #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards and Rockets’ forward Jae’Sean Tate have played more minutes this season among rookies.
After missing eight games with a concussion, big man Jarrett Allen has posted back-to-back double-doubles. The trade chip from Brooklyn is averaging 13.1 points and 10.0 boards per game this season.
Tough Season for the Pistons
Life is hard in Detroit for Pistons fans. The team sits at 17-39 with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. They have shown signs of life with five wins over their last 12 games. The 5-7 record is their best 12-game stretch since early February.
So far this season, the Pistons are 0-9 against Central Division opponents. Their last win against a divisional opponent came against the Cavs over 15 months ago, last year on January 8.
The Pistons will be without potential Most-Improved Player of the Year Jerami Grant due to a quad injury. Mason Plumlee and Wayne Ellington will be rested, while Cory Joseph, Dennis Smith, and Sekou Doumbouya will also all be out with various injuries and illnesses.
When these teams met in the second game of the year, four different Cavs scored 20 or more points. Sexton led the way with 32, while Darius Garland registered 21 points and 12 assists in the double OT win. Grant led all scorers for Detroit with 28 points.
Both team’s big men had big scoring outputs, but neither are with their respective teams anymore. Andre Drummond poured in 23 with 16 rebounds, and Blake Griffin netted 26.
In the second meeting, Cleveland outscored Detroit 50-36 in the game’s final 18 minutes. Sexton and Drummond were once again the leading contributors for the Cavs.
This matchup will look slightly different with a new cast of characters on the floor, but the competition and entertainment levels will remain the same. Expect a tight contest on Monday night.
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