Cavaliers Step Up Defense, Pull Out Big Win Over Pistons
It’s about time. Looking backwards, you’d have to go back to February 11th against Orlando for the last time the Cavaliers had a true “big” win. The high scorer for the Cavs in that game? Larry Hughes, with 40 points. It started to feel like this new lineup was never going to get it together and win any big games. Now, to be fair, from time to time we like to use fatigue in the 2nd night of back-to-backs as an excuse for the Cavaliers, so to be fair, we should point out that Cleveland was fresh in this one and Detroit played a fast paced up tempo game against Denver last night. None the less, the Cavaliers needed a confidence boost, and tonight gave them that a bit as they took down the Pistons by the final score of 89-73.
This one was neck and neck for much of the game before the Cavaliers pulled away in the 4th quarter, outscoring the Pistons 26-16. LeBron was nothing short of sensational once more tonight, scoring 30 points while adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists. It was another one of those “quiet” 30 point nights where LeBron waits until the 4th quarter to take over the game and make sure the opponents can’t come crawling back. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a big night as well. He was active and agressive right from the beginning and he finished the night with 20 points on 9 of 14 shooting with 8 rebounds. Delonte West had another solid game at the point with 7 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and only 2 turnovers.
In fact, turnovers were a big key in this game as the Cavs’ defense was able to force 11 turnovers against the normally efficient Detroit offense. The Cavaliers also held the Pistons to 39.7% shooting from the field while outrebounding them 46-39. On offense, the Cavs were the more efficient team this night with 22 assists to only 6 turnovers. This is exactly the kind of game the Cavaliers need to play in the playoffs to have their best chance at going far. I said in the game preview that it was important that the Cavaliers were agressive and not settle for mass quantities of 3 pointers. While they only got to the line 16 times, they also only shot 13 three pointers. This was only the 2nd time in the last 19 games in which they attempted fewer than 15 three’s.
All in all, this was a very well rounded game (although the bench production was a little underwhelming tonight) and a very nice win for the Cavaliers. They were able to make a tiny statement and prove to themselves that they still can play with the big boys of the East. Moving forward, now it’s time for the Cavaliers to pick up their consistency and find a way to play solid all-around games like tonight with a little more frequency. We’re into the stretch run here, and while it seems highly unlikely that they’ll catch Orlando for the 3 seed, it’s important to make sure they stay ahead of Toronto to maintain home court for the first round. The next game is Friday against those very Raptors, so there’s no time to relax after this big win, as another big game is right around the corner.Print This