Cavaliers’ big three overwhelms Pistons


64. 114. 156. Final. 106

The Cleveland Cavaliers used 12 second chance points in the first 18 minutes to build an early lead against the Detroit Pistons, and they never looked back.

You don’t want to play from behind against the Cavs. I mentioned in the game preview that the Pistons needed to avoid getting into an early hole, and they needed to keep the Cavs off the offensive glass. Unfortunately, they didn’t do either of those things tonight. The Cavs dominated the offensive glass in the first quarter, and those early second chance points, aided by some foul trouble, were essentially the difference in the game.

As far as grades go, I didn’t think the Pistons played all that bad aside from allowing the second chance points early in the game. Cleveland got into a rhythm early and used some crisp ball movement to create open shots, and when they weren’t getting open shots they were knocking down tough, contested shots. The Pistons competed hard throughout, but every time they looked like they were ready to make a run, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love had an answer.

C-. Reggie struggled defensively and his shot wasn’t falling tonight. He started to get it going in the fourth quarter until a brutal stretch when the Pistons had a chance to really make it interesting. During that stretch he missed a deep three pointer early in the shot clock, then over dribbled and turned it over on the next possession, then turned it over again on an ill advised pass after the Pistons had gotten a stop. He finished with 15 points on 6-16 shooting (0-3 from beyond the arc) with six assists and two rebounds. . PG. Pistons. REGGIE JACKSON

SG. Pistons. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE. B+. KCP was everywhere tonight. He was aggressive offensively resulting in 19 points, he grabbed seven rebounds, he had a nice come from behind block on a LeBron James jump shot and he hounded Kyrie Irving at times on a night where no one could guard him. His effort is something you can count on every night.

Stanley did not look like a rookie in this game, and maybe this was his way of responding to being left off the Rising Stars roster in the upcoming All Star weekend. Although he did a lot of good things tonight, my favorite play was his defense on LeBron to end the third quarter. LeBron couldn’t get by him and was forced to take and miss a tough jump shot. Stanley scored 15 points off the bench with five assists and four rebounds.. SF. Pistons. STANLEY JOHNSON. B+

Morris was given an impossible task tonight: shut down LeBron. I thought he did a good job on LeBron, and while doing so he managed to score 14 points. I loved the way he competed tonight. He has shown time and time again the he will never back down from a challenge, and he continues to provide the edge that has become a staple of Detroit basketball. . SF. Pistons. MARCUS MORRIS. B

B+.  Andre demanded the ball in the post tonight, and for most of the game he played like an All Star. He finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, which isn’t anything special for him, but he looked confident and determined to dominate down low. Aside from shooting 2-8 from the free throw line, there isn’t too much to criticize about Andre offensively. I thought he allowed the Cavaliers to grab too many offensive rebounds, but he wasn’t the only one to blame.. C. Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND

D-. Brandon had one nice pass to Aron Baynes that was memorable, but other than that you could have completely forgotten that he was even in the game. He could not stay in front of Kyrie Irving (along with everyone else who guarded him) and he missed his only two shot attempts in 15 minutes.. PG. Pistons. BRANDON JENNINGS

Baynes picked up three fouls in about four minutes in the first half, and that really limited his effectiveness tonight. He gave the Pistons some good minutes in the second half, and was on the floor when the Pistons cut the lead to ten, but at that point it was too late.. C. Pistons. ARON BAYNES. C-

PF. Pistons. ANTHONY TOLLIVER. C-. Tolliver knocked down a couple of three pointers, but did little else tonight. He finished with eight points and four rebounds, and was among the crowd who was taken to school by Kevin Love tonight.

D. Ilyasova struggled shooting, connecting on just 4-10 from the field including 1-4 from three. He also struggled guarding Love, giving up several offensive rebounds and picking up four fouls.. PF. Pistons. ERSAN ILYASOVA

Joel played a couple minutes at the end of the first half to give Andre Drummond a rest after Baynes got into foul trouble. He pulled down one offensive rebound. . C. Pistons. JOEL ANTHONY. Inc

Inc. Hilliard played 21 seconds of garbage time at the end of the game.. SG. Pistons. DARRUN HILLIARD II

C-. Coach Van Gundy had no answer for Kevin Love and the pick and roll plays that were getting him wide open with regularity. He clearly got through to the team about blocking out and rebounding after the rough first quarter, but the damage was already done.. Head Coach. Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY