- Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (19-33) at Detroit Pistons (22-29)
- Date: February 12, 2014
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Detroit
What to look for
Apparently, firing someone does wonders.
The Pistons (who just replaced coach Maurice Cheeks with John Loyer) and Cavaliers (who just replaced general manager Chris Grant with David Griffin) are the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams, both riding three-game winning streaks. No team outside Houston has a long winning streak – though the lowly Magic are also at three games.
So, obviously a modest three-game winning streak means only so much. (Though don’t tell that to these teams.)
Like the Pistons, the Cavaliers are still fighting for a playoff spot with no indications they’ll be sellers at the trade deadline. In fact, Griffin said they’ll be buyers.
They’ve already gotten a boost lately from No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, who even had 19 points on 3-on-3 3-point shooting with 10 rebounds yesterday. So, don’t be alarmed if the player already labeled by some as history’s biggest bust has some success and the Pistons. It wouldn’t necessarily be an indictment of Detroit.
“I kind of took this as a two-game increment, do the best we can do for these two games, get our guys focused, make a few changes, and then kind of start fresh again,” Loyer said Tuesday. “Whether then we go on a five-game increment, I haven’t really thought much about it. There’s a broader picture of things that we’ve got to cover and go over and add to the package. But most of that is going to be done after the break and we’ll spend time on the break working on that.”
The Pistons have a crucial challenge after the All-Star break, a back-to-back with the Bobcats. That will go a long way toward determining their postseason fate, and I look forward to seeing how Loyer approaches it.
For now, hopefully Detroit can win its eighth straight over Cleveland – which would match a record by either team in the all-time series – and keep a fellow playoff challenger at bay.