Short road trip starts in Cleveland

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (6-15) at Cleveland Cavaliers (4-16)
  • Date: December 8, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After losing at home last night to the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Pistons will try to rebound at the Quicken Loans Arena when they take on a Cleveland Cavaliers team that was soundly defeated on the road Friday night in Minnesota.

Tonight’s contest will be a rematch of the December 3rd matchup that the Pistons won at home by a comfortable 10-point margin.

Anderson Varejao played well in that contest, but the Cavaliers only managed to score 79 points.

One of the biggest reasons why Cleveland struggled to score against Detroit was simply their inability to convert shots at the rim; an issue they’ve struggled with throughout most of the season, but particularly against the Pistons.

On the season, Detroit surrenders 42.4 points in the paint per game, which is 23rd in the NBA, and the Cavs actually outpaced that in their first encounter against the Pistons, as they produced 44 points in the paint.

That’s a solid total, until we dig deeper and look at how they managed to produce it.

The league average on conversion rate for shots at the rim is 63.7 percent according to Hoopdata, but the Cleveland Cavaliers managed to convert a mere 17-of-37 shots at the rim (45.9 percent) against the Detroit Pistons.

Part of it is that Byron Scott’s unit does not have good finishers as evidenced by the fact that they are dead last in the NBA in conversion rate at the rim, but what also played a factor was Maxiell, Monroe and Drummond’s ability to contest shots at the basket that made it difficult for opponents to convert shots.

Furthermore, given that the easiest shot in the game is the attempt right at the basket, if a team is struggling to convert those, the odds are quite likely that they will have a poor shooting performance overall since shots typically become tougher to convert the further away a player is from the hoop. In the case of Cleveland, they only managed to convert 33.7 percent of all of their shots against the Pistons less than week ago.

Thus, if the Pistons are going to defeat the Cavs for the second time in less than week, contesting shots at the rim and then securing rebounds will benefit them greatly given Cleveland’s inability to convert a large percentage of their shots at the basket.

Read about the Cavs

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