Cleveland Cavaliers complete first-round sweep of Detroit Pistons

Nov 17, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) drives to the basket during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit won 104-99. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 17, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) drives to the basket during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit won 104-99. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

This was hands down the best game of the series for the Pistons, but they weren’t able to avoid the sweep at the hand of the top seeded Cavaliers–a very parallel result to their last playoff appearance seven years ago. Hopefully they keep the symmetry up and make the next six conference finals.

64. 100. 156. Final. 98

Missing seven straight threes in the fourth really did a number on the Pistons’ chances. They still shot well for the game, but that stretch allowed the Cavs’ lead to get a little too big. The Pistons had some success playing a super small lineup with Tobias Harris at center late in the game–even against the Cavs’ starting five. Unfortunately, that group really struggled to corral rebounds. Otherwise, this series probably goes another game. That said, they still had a great shot if the refs hadn’t missed the loose ball foul on Tristan Thompson with about two minutes remaining. A pair of Morris free throws with no time off the clock would have been just what the doctor ordered. It’s hard to blame this one on the refs, officiating was pretty even both ways, but that was a brutal no-call at a crucial moment.

C+. The Cavaliers really made getting the ball out of Jackson’s hands a priority. That can be the downside to not having multiple strong ball-handlers in the lineup. But since trading for Harris, the Pistons have a decent secondary ball-handler. Jackson has to identify such tactics quicker, pass out, and trust his teammates. Still a good game for Jackson overall outside of the rough three point shooting. His pair of missed threes on one possession were particularly painful. And if you watch the shots J.R. was hitting, those weren’t Reggie’s fault.. PG. Pistons. REGGIE JACKSON

C+. What to say about KCP’s defense o Irving? It was pretty hit-or-miss, but Irving scored on a lot more of Kentavious’ strong defensive possessions than on his weak ones. The Pistons were particularly bailed out by his misses on sloppy transition defense. But with zero room and a hands all up in his face? Irving was money. KCP also had a bit of an off shooting game, but he still knocked down three triples in what has been a very good offensive series for him.. SG. Pistons. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE

B. Morris was the most aggressive player on the floor. It showed up not only in his shots and free throws, but also his foul trouble. I didn’t like Van Gundy’s quick hook. Without it, Morris probably fouls out. But he still probably manages to give the Pistons a bit more. The rest of Morris’ box score was basically empty, but I’ll give him a pass because he was plenty involved, the rebounds just bounced other ways. And it was good for the Pitons that he was stopping the ball. Nobody else was doing a better job of putting it through the hole.. SF. Pistons. MARCUS MORRIS

PF. Pistons. TOBIAS HARRIS. A-. Harris hasn’t had the best series, but he showed repeatedly that he probably has the best moves of anyone on the team. Unfortunately, he often played a bit too unselfishly. He several times passed up good looks for inferior looks by teammates. He did that less this game (still some, but not as much) and had his best performance of the series. He fully matched Kevin Love on the boards and destroyed him in terms of scoring. He also ended the Pistons streak of seven consecutive missed threes. Very good game.

I loved Drummond’s play in this one. He was a monster on the glass, helping secure the Pistons several more rebounds than even his own solid total. He hit his free throws at a good rate, by his own awful standards, that is–he even had a made free throw taken off the board by a Stanley Johnson lane violation and still wound up at 50%. But what impressed me the most was how well he held up whenever he got switched onto a perimeter player, LeBron in particular. I’ve long thought that Drummond moves like he should be a good perimeter defender. But when he ends up being tested, it rarely works out.. C. Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND. B+

Pistons. STEVE BLAKE. D. Blake hit a big three and was useless on defense. There’s not much else to say about his minimal time on the court.. PG

Baynes drew a great charge on LeBron and had a nice putback. But he airballed a hook shot from about four feet. That’s pathetic. It was good to see Drummond shoot free throws well enough that Baynes was rarely needed. That and SVG’s decision to play super small for a stretch.. C. Pistons. ARON BAYNES. C

PF. Pistons. ANTHONY TOLLIVER. A-. Tolliver was pretty inconsequential in this one. But you can’t really ask for more out of six minutes of play time than what he gave Detroit. He hit his one shot (to bail out a bad possession) got an offensive board that led to Morris free throws, and blocked an otherwise easy layup by Jefferson.

C-. Stanley Johnson played better defense on LeBron than he had since game one. But his shot was really off and he was a net liability to the Pistons. Still gotta love his tenacity.. SF. Pistons. STANLEY JOHNSON

B-. I didn’t love all of Van Gundy’s decisions, but he showed more creativity than normal, which is a huge plus in my book. It’s pretty ok if I don’t agree with all the nitty gritty details. He knows way more about basketball than I ever will. But his tendency toward tunnel vision usually limits his upside as a coach.. Head Coach. Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY