After a run of exciting, albeit losing efforts; eight games in thirteen days in six cities missing two starters appears to have been the breaking point for our young Cavaliers. Omri Casspi started in Dion Waiters place.
A seemingly dispiriting evening started early, with Cleveland falling behind four to fourteen, thanks to two of fifteen shooting. Rodney Stuckey blocked a Tyler Zeller dunk…that summarizes the quarter well. Pistons lead 30 to 17, behind 62% from the field.
The second quarter got worse, as Detroit pick-and-rolled, drive-and-dished, and fast-breaked the Cavs into nearly bloody oblivion. During the first eighteen minutes, Detroit missed only twelve shots, of which they rebounded six. Apparently I angered Kyle Singler by insinuating he was merely a role player on a miserable team, as he finished the half with 13 points. Cleveland trailed at the half by a score of 56 to 39, shooting 29%, paced by CJ Miles’ eight points, Andy’s eight rebounds, and five assists from Pargo.
The third quarter started off with more of the same, until at 66 – 47, Varejao poked Kyle Singler in the eye. In an obviously related sequence, Tyler Zeller canned a few jumpers, Donald Sloan scored seven unanswered, and suddenly, the Pistons lead dropped to ten. Cleveland entered the fourth within shouting distance.
Nothing ever really materialized though; with three minutes left, Boobie missed a wide-open shot that would have narrowed the deficit to four, then the Pistons waltzed to a 89 to 79 victory.
The first half was really bad; Detroit got everything they wanted on offense, Cleveland generated nothing at their end. The second half featured the type of basketball that results in a 73 combined points. Anyways, Cleveland shot 34% for the game and 15% from deep; it is hard to win that way. Hopefully Dion is back on Wednesday and Kyrie a couple of weeks after that, and the offense looks a little more dynamic.
A few bullets:
- I still think Cleveland can be decent-ish this year; i.e win 2 of every 5 games when healthy. With Kyrie around, the starting five played very effectively. At that time, the bench was an albatross. Recently though, the back-ups have stepped-up. Not ‘this guy should be starting somewhere’ stepped-up, but ‘I think the team can avoid 32 to 6 runs’ stepped-up. in his last ten games, Casspi averages 7.4 points on 62% true shooting, with only 0.7 turnovers. In the last 5 games he appeared in, CJ Miles logged 39 points on 55% true shooting, with only 4 turnovers in 76 minutes. Since Friday, Zeller averaged 10 & 6, and finally showed his acclaimed jump-shooting ability. Pargo represented himself very well in the quest for a back-up PG. Add in Daniel Gibson, and this bench can be as adequate as hoped for.
- Speaking of a bench that could be as adequate as hoped for; where is Jon Leuer? It’s approaching a month since he got non-garbage run. Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed all 1600 career minutes of Samardo Samuels and his 11 PER, but I hope Leuer gets more of a chance than 3 games.
- Andre Drummond is an offensive rebounding machine. He’s pretty tall and athletic, with long arms. A skilled scorer he is not, but he’s young.
- This will sound odd, because he finished with 17 points, 18 rebounds, and 3 steals, but occassionally I thought Andy looked a step slow tonight. Did he need to play 39 minutes, when the team trailed by twenty in the third, two nights after playing 47 minutes in the second game of a back-to-back? Perhaps I am just overly intrigued by the Spurs and the career-management feat they are pulling off with Tim Duncan (a 28 PER and he’ll be 37 by the playoffs!), but the Cavs play two more 4 games in 5 day stretches this month. The last game of both is a roadie. I say sit Andy for both. Two games rested now, could mean something when Cleveland is ready to contend again.
- Tristan Thompson had a double-double. It took thirteen shots, but I would be remiss not to mention it.