Shortly before tonight’s game tipped off, it was announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be without their dynamic backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. The pair also missed a game against the Detroit Pistons earlier this season, back in November, and that wasn’t an issue then as Cleveland cruised to a 112-88 win at Little Caesars Arena.
That game was dominated by the Cavaliers combination of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley – which should have been a sign of things to come.
The Cavs sprinted out of the gate, and pounced on the Pistons early, taking an 11-2 lead within the first three minutes of the game. From the jump, the Pistons offense was a complete mess, they saw their shots swatted away, and when they were able to get quality looks, they weren’t falling with any regularity. Detroit shot 0-7 from the three and lost the battle of the paint 10-24 in the first quarter.
Both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley wreaked havoc in the paint, on the offensive and defensive side of the floor. Cleveland’s big man duo combined to produce 21 points and 8 rebounds in the first frame and the Cavs would eventually take an 18 point lead into the second quarter.
Detroit’s offense eventually found even ground. The players moved, the ball moved, which led to positive results. Halfway through the second quarter, Detroit went on a 10-2 run, which trimmed Cleveland’s lead to 10 points. Bojan Bogdanovic splashed a couple of jumpers in the midst of that run, and lead all Pistons at the half with 10 points. The Pistons outscored the Cavs 26-19 in the second quarter and trailed by 11 at the half.
Early in the second half, the Pistons front-court started to come to life, headlined by Jalen Duren. Duren displayed a variety of different shots, including a little turn around jumper, a bucket down in the post, and of course, a massive jam. Duren and Stewart’s production aided a third quarter spurt that would eventually whittle Cleveland’s lead down to just two points, but Cleveland would respond. Raul Neto and Dean Wade knocked down a pair of threes late in the third and the Cavs took an 8 point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Pistons could not slow down if they were to complete this comeback, and that’s exactly what they did. Just like the start of the game, the Cavaliers came out swinging, scoring the first nine points of the fourth quarter. Cleveland got up and down in transition, took advantage of Detroit’s turnovers and the lead would eventually balloon to 30 points with four minutes to go.
Detroit shot a dismal 37% from the field and 25% from three, and were outscored in the paint 70-32, as they fell 113-85.
Players of the Game
Cleveland – Jarrett Allen – 20 points, 14 rebounds (7 offensive rebounds)
Cleveland – Evan Mobley – 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
Detroit – Jalen Duren – 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks