Loveless Cavaliers pounded into submission by Pistons 129-93 
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Cavaliers entered Saturday with just 20 games remaining on their 2018-19 schedule. After a season filled with injuries, trades and learning, the Cavs may be happy to see this season come to an end.

On Saturday, the Cavs hosted the Detroit Pistons, a team fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Matters got ugly for the Cavs early against Detroit and continued through the contest, ultimately resulting in a humiliating 129-93 loss to the Pistons in Quicken Loans Arena.

One could have forecasted the result, as the Cavs were without several big men, including their goto player, Kevin Love. Love sat our the game for rest, but Cleveland was also without centers Tristan Thompson (sore left foot) and Ante Zizic (concussion). Consequently, the Cavs were out-rebounded 51-33 on the evening.

“We’ve gone through the entire season short-handed,” Cavs head coach Larry Drew said. “We’ve been playing with injuries throughout the season, minus Kevin Love 50-plus ballgames. All the adversity that we’ve had to withstand, our guys have continued to play hard and conducted themselves in a very professional manner.”

Less than five minutes into Saturday’s game, though, the Cavs were already down double-digits. When Pistons guards Ish Smith and Luke Kennard sank back-to-back jump shots in the final minute of the first quarter, Detroit had secured a 42-21 lead. The Pistons led 42-23 at the end of the first quarter, which tied for the most points the Cavs have allowed in a first quarter this season. It only got worse for Cleveland in the second quarter.

When Kennard drained his second three-pointer of the half with 5:47 remaining until halftime, Detroit gained a 61-31 lead. At the half, the Pistons had secured their largest lead in the first two quarters, 71-38. And at the halftime buzzer, Detroit forward Blake Griffin swatted a Larry Nance three-point attempt, which was a fitting end to the first half.

Detroit led by as many as 39 points in the second half.

Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 16 points and three rebounds. Nance totaled 11 points and five rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson added 11 points and three rebounds.

“As a coach, I’m very proud of them,” Drew said of his team this season. “I’m proud to be their coach. I’m proud to say that this team has no quit in them, and they have maintained a level of enthusiasm throughout our struggles, and that says a lot about the character of our team.

“And I’m very proud to be a part of this group because they certainly have shown that regardless of what the situation is, they’re going to continue to play hard, they’re going to continue to conduct themselves professionally.”

It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Cavs, as they host the Orlando Magic on Sunday. 
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​POSTED 03/02/2019 19:27
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