Cavaliers pound Pistons late 113-85 
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Entering Wednesday night game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse the Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22, 22-6 home) had won four of five games including three straight for the first time since 12/31 to 01/04. The opponent on Wednesday night was the struggling Detroit Pistons (14-41, 7-20 road) who entered the game with the second worst record in the NBA behind the Houston Rockets. Detroit has lost two straight and 8 of 10. Heading into tonight’s game the Pistons led the all-time series 132-98. In Cleveland (Cleveland Arena, Richfield Coliseum, RMFH) the Cavs have the series edge 61-53. The Cavs have won the first two meetings this season, both in Detroit including the last meeting on November 27 when the Cavs prevailed 102-94. On Wednesday night with the exception of the third quarter the Cavs dominated the Pistons and cruised in the fourth quarter to defeat the hapless Pistons 113-85.

The Pistons have been without their number one pick and the first overall pick in the NBA draft in 2022 Cade Cunningham and will be for the rest of the season with a left shin injury. Cunningham underwent successful surgery on December 16 and should be ready for next season. Cunningham recently admitted that he had been dealing with the shin problem since high school.

The Cavs were without Darius Garland (thumb) and Donovan Mitchell (groin). Raul Neto and Caris LeVert started in their place at the guards. Even with the absence of Mitchell and Garland the Cavs got off to a quick start taking an 8-2 lead with 9:44 remaining on a thunderous dunk by Jarrett Allen on a pass from LeVert. Forcing Detroit coach Dwane Casey took an early timeout. The Cavs extended their lead to 21-8 on another hard dunk courtesy of a pass from Neto with 5:51 left in the first quarter. Detroit cut the lead to 24-14 with 3:24 left in the first when Killian Hayes hit a fadeaway jumper. The Cavs scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 32-14 with 1:01 left in the first quarter when Mobley dunked a pass from Ricky Rubio which was the score at the end of the opening 12 minutes. Mobley led all scorers with 11 points. Allen also contributed 10. Isaiah Stewart aced the Pistons with four points. The Cavs dominated every statistical category in the first and obliterated the Pistons in the paint 24-10. Cleveland also outrebounded Detroit 16-8.

The second quarter started similar to the first as the Cavs led 36-18 with 10:09 left. At that point, the Cavs were shooting 59% and the Pistons were shooting 30% from the field. Midway through the quarter the Cavaliers took a timeout with 6:36 remaining and a 41-27 lead. The Pistons did cut the lead to 10 at 47-37 with 3:24 left when Bojan Bogdanovic hit a three pointer. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter, but the Cavs did increase their lead back to 11 points with a 51-40 lead at the break. Allen led everyone in scoring with 14 after 24 minutes. Mobley chipped in 13. Bogdanovic paced Detroit with 10 points. The Cavs took no prisoners in the paint in the first half outscoring Detroit 40-16. Bench points however were pretty even as the Cavs only outscored the Pistons bench 11-10. Cleveland did own the boards outrebounding Detroit 26-16. Even without Mitchell and Garland the Cavs nearly doubled the Pistons in assists 15-8. Neto led the Cavs with five assists in the first half.

The first four minutes of the third quarter were similar to the final minutes of the first half with the two teams trading basket with the Cavs leading 57-48 with 7:42 left after the Pistons Jalen Duren drain two free throws. The Cavs extended the lead back to 11 at 62-51 when Allen after rebounding a LeVert miss laid a hook shot in the basket with 6:21 remaining in the third quarter. The Pistons then cut the lead to six points at 62-56 when Duran drove the lane for a layup with 5:08 left. The Cavs failed to get anything on their next two possessions and Rubio fouled Bogdanovic and he drained two free throws to pull the Pistons to within four points with 4:24 remaining the Cavs lead shrunk to 62-58. The Pistons continued to outplay the Cavs after Wade fouled Alec Burks and he hit both free throws the Cavs lead was 62-60 with 4:02 left in the third. After Cedi Osman hit a jumper to put the Cavs up 64-60 with 3:35 left Bogdanovic hit one of two free throws. The Cavs then woke up offensively scoring the next four points to go up 68-61 with 2:55 after a fast break basket by Osman off a rebound and pass from Neto. The Cavs continued their mini run taking a 73-64 lead on a fadeaway three pointer by Neto with 1:18 left in the quarter. The quarter ended with the Cavs leading 76-68. The Pistons outscored the Cavs 28-25 in the period. Allen was still leading all scorers with 18 points, Mobley followed with 17. Bogdanovic was still pacing the Pistons with 13, Duren now had 12. Even though the lead had shrunk to as little as two points during the third quarter the Cavs were slaughtering the Pistons in the paint 54-26 and dominating the Pistons on the boards 39-26.

The Cavs scored the first nine points of the final quarter capped off by an Osman dunk with 10:00 left on the clock giving Cleveland a 85-68 lead and forcing a Pistons timeout. The run continued in the first 6:03 of the fourth quarter as the Cavs outscored the Pistons 22-4 to take a 98-72 lead with 5:57 left on the clock. The biggest lead of the night came with 4:43 left when the Cavs took a 102-72 lead on a driving layup by LeVert. In the final second Robin Lopez added to the Pistons misery hitting a three pointer from near the Cavs bench to give the Cleveland what ended up being the final score 113-85.

Allen led all scorers in the game with 20, Mobley finished with 19. LeVert had 15 followed by Neto with 14 and Dean Wade’s 10 points. Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 15 in the losing effort. Duren contributed 14 for Detroit. The Cavs as a team finished with 70 points in the paint falling two points shy of their season high which occurred against the Pacers December 29th in Indianapolis. The Cavs shot an even 50% (43-86 from the field in the game while Detroit shot a miserable 37% (30-81). Both teams shot well from the charity stripe as the Pistons shot 94% (17-18) and the Cavs shot 84% (21-25). The Cavs also easily outdid the Pistons on the boards, outrebounding Detroit 48-32.

The Cavaliers will be in action next on Friday night in New Orleans against the Pelicans (29-27, 20-9 home) at the Smoothie King Center at 10 pm. 
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​POSTED 02/08/2023 21:35
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