Larry Nance, Jr. and Cavaliers pound Pistons 112-90
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
Change has been a common theme with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and even more adjustments came Monday evening.
Entering Monday night’s game with the Detroit Pistons, the Cleveland Cavaliers had trotted out 15 different starting lineups this season. Players have come and gone throughout the season, while injuries have also plagued the Cavs this season.
With Kevin Love (hand), Jeff Green (back) and Tristan Thompson (ankle) all out Monday due to injury, the Cavs presented their 16th different starting lineup this season, as Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood moved into the starting lineup with LeBron James, J.R. Smith and George Hill.
“Nance is starting and he’s been our boost off the bench defensively and his energy,” Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said prior to the game. “I just think now we need someone like Cedi (Osman) to come off the bench and give us that same energy defensive wise.”
After the game, Lue was happy to see the new rotation work out, as the Cavs topped the Pistons 112-90 in Quicken Loans Arena.
“Larry was great, just his energy and making that little 15-foot shot, rebounding the basketball,” Lue said. “I thought he did a good job on (Andre) Drummond, just being physical and keeping him off the glass.”
Nance Jr. shined in his first start with the Cavaliers, while James was his usual heroic self. The duo combined to score the Cavs’ first 20 points, and another Cavalier didn’t score a point until Jordan Clarkson drained a jump shot with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter. Cleveland trailed 28-26 heading into the second quarter, but began to make their move before halftime.
No starter had scored for Cleveland aside Nance Jr. and James well into the second quarter. Nevertheless, the Cavs had a 44-40 lead when Rodney Hood knocked down two free throws that gave Cleveland a 46-40 lead with 2:57 to play until halftime. The Cavs led 54-49 at the half, and James only poured on the onslaught in the third quarter.
As the Cavs led 61-54 just under three minutes into the third quarter, James began his tear. The Cavs superstar put together a personal 11-0 run, during which he drained three triples, that gave the Cavs a 71-54 lead with 7:37 remaining in the period. James’ spurt helped Cleveland close the quarter strong and take a 90-70 lead into the fourth.
“This is the first time we’ve played well at home since we added the new guys,” Lue said.
James finished with 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Nance Jr. totaled a career-high 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. The Cavs center also helped hold All-Star Drummond to 15 points and nine rebounds.
Although Osman is a rookie, it was interesting to see him moved out of the starting lineup, where he had played well. In nine games as a starter, Osman shot 54 percent from the field and 46 percent from beyond the arc. Monday evening, he finished with 12 points in 22 minutes.
The Cavs will see how their new rotation fares for the second time in Denver against the Nuggets on Wednesday..
POSTED 03/05/2018 21:50