Game Preview: Detroit vs. Cleveland, Game Four

Essentials

Date: April 26, 2009

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Television: ABC

Records

Detroit: 39-43

Cleveland: 66-16

Series: Cleveland leads, 3-0

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Antonio
McDyess
Rasheed
Wallace

Cleveland:

PG SG SF PF C

Mo
Wiliams
Delonte
West
LeBron
James
Anderson
Varejao
Zydrunas
Ilgauskas

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +8.5

Over/under: 177

Score: Cleveland wins 93-84

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 107.4 (21st)

Detroit defensive rating: 108.0 (16th)

Detroit pace: 86.7 (29th)

Cleveland offensive rating: 112.4 (4th)

Cleveland defensive rating: 102.4 (3rd)

Cleveland pace: 88.7 (25th)

Score: Cleveland wins 92-87

Outlook

It wasn’t my first game, but the earliest Pistons game I remember going to was in the first round of the playoffs against the Magic in 1996. Detroit was down 0-2 in the best-of-five series after losing the first two games by 20 and 15.

Orlando, led by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway, won 60 games and made it to the Eastern Conference finasl before losing to the Bulls. The Pistons clearly had little to no chance of advancing.

But they fought hard that third game and lost by just three. Doug Collins got ejected and cried after the game. The passion definitely showed, and the Palace was rocking.

And you want to know a secret about today’s game?

The Pistons can win. How many of you picked Cleveland in five? Why couldn’t that still happen?

Now, I don’t expect the Pistons to win. Far from it. I expect Detrit to show almost no swagger. After all, that’s how the Pistons handled the only other time they were facing a sweep in this era.

In 2003, the Nets won a pair of two-point games at the Palace to open the conference finals. The Pistons showed no life in New Jersey and lost by 12 and 20.

It’d be nice to see this group go out with a fight. But I’m not counting on it.

  • Today’s game is available on ESPN 360.

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