Overview: The Cavs beat the Pistons with a stifling wire-to-wire effort, controlling the entire game and cruising to a 104-79 victory. In a balanced effort, six Cavaliers scored in double figures. Leon Powe led the way with 16 points, and LeBron James was able to sit for the entire fourth quarter.
-Finally, 48 good minutes against an inferior team. If I had to sum up what the Cavs did tonight in one word, that word would likely be POWESMASH. The Cavaliers beat the Pistons up in the paint and on the boards, and nobody was doing that better than Leon Powe. Despite barely leaving the ground, Powe was grabbing rebounds left and right and wouldn’t be denied when he got the ball in the paint. Every time he got it down low, Powe either finished the play or got to the line, and the rest of the team matched Powe’s effort en route to an easy win. Powe ended up drawing eight fouls on Sunday, but the Pistons were the ones who came out looking worse for the wear.
-The Cavs also did a complete 180 with their ball movement, getting the ball from side-to-side with ease. 68% of the Cavs’ field goals were assisted, and Mo/LeBron/Parker combined for 20 dimes on their own.
-Great night for JJ Hickson, who did a great job finishing from odd angles inside and creating paths for players to get him the ball. The more JJ can do the things Powe does, the better he’ll get.
-Bit of a bounce-back game for AP, who scored in double figures for the first time all month. When he runs to his spots early and gets an open look at a three, he’s great. When he gets closed out on but still feels the need to get a shot up, problems arise.
-Mo did a great job getting inside and making the pass to the open man, never more spectacularly than his behind-the-back dime to Andy. His shot was also on, although the Godfather music and the honking geese after a made three by Mo is a little much.
-If Z’s minutes end up coming at the expense of Jawad so Powe can stay in the rotation, I’d be okay with that.
-I realized something about the way I watch LeBron tonight. I was absolutely thrilled with his performance, even though he put up one of his lowest scoring totals of the year. I’ll admit to having some LeAnhedonia about LeBron’s game — he makes the good things he does look so easy that I end up taking them for granted more often than not, as hard as I try not to. I often find myself basing my opinion of LeBron’s performance on how many bad things he didn’t do. Missed free throws, forced jumpers, bad passes, all of them stick in my mind while a crazy drive and finish for an and-1 just looks like something LeBron can do as easily as I turn on a light switch.
Tonight, LeBron played nearly mistake-free ball, missing zero free throws, only missing four shots, and not even turning it over once. I was as happy as a clam. A happy clam. Also, that lefty block of Jerebko was magnificent. And that play where he backed down Stuckey at least 10 feet with two dribbles, then turned and casually drained the lefty hook? Pure ecstasy.
-Defensively, the Pistons’ luck on mid-range jumpers finally ran out, and they couldn’t get anything going all game. By my unofficial eyeball count, the Pistons shot 9-35 on two-point jumpers outside of the paint, and they had trouble mounting any kind of solid offense. Rip and Tayshaun finally had a crappy game against the Cavs, combining to go 5-19 from the field.