Cavaliers blown out by Pistons 127-94
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t had the best start to the 2019-20 NBA season, winning just five games in 19 tries entering Tuesday night’s matchup with the Detroit Pistons. Cavs head coach John Beilein, however, has seen progress from his team early in the season.
“We’re as good as you can be for a team right now that is 5-14,” Beilein said before Tuesday’s tipoff.
Beilein may not have been too far off with his prognostication, as the Cavs have two wins over playoff teams from a season ago and have competed for wins more often than they have not. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the Cavs on Tuesday, as they were demolished by the Pistons 127-94 in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not going to flinch that we will learn from it,” Beilein said after the game. “Tomorrow, we’ll have a video session on this, a good strength building session with our weights, and we we will find ways to grow even from that really humbling loss to Detroit…They outplayed us in every way and we have to get better.”
The Pistons jumped on the Cavs early, taking a 24-13 lead with a little more than four minutes to play in the first quarter. The Cavs used an immediate 15-0 run to take a 28-24 lead, but they trailed 32-28 heading into the second quarter, where the game began to get away from them.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Detroit had regained a double-digit lead (42-30) following a Langston Galloway three-pointer. The lead ballooned to 19 points before halftime, which the Pistons took a 62-46 lead into.
It only got worse for the Cavs in the third quarter. After Pistons center Andre Drummond threw down a vicious dunk plus the foul, he converted the free throw to give Detroit its largest lead of the evening to that point, 80-52. By the end of the third quarter, the Pistons led 97-68 and the Cavs never recovered.
Cavs second-year shooting guard Collin Sexton led the team with 22 points. Tristan Thompson produced his team-leading 12th double-double of the season with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
With three days in between the Pistons game and their previous outing with the Milwaukee Bucks, Beilein and his squad were recently able to have much-needed practice time. The experience didn’t provide immediate positive returns against the Pistons.
“The last two days were almost like a training camp, where we got back to trying to do some of the basic things but also adjusting with these two days to what we see now at the quarter mark and what’s the best direction we need to go in as far as play calling, positioning, defense, how people are playing us, how we should be playing more people, just cleaning up a lot of things,” Beilein said. “Attitude was great, energy was great, everybody very positive. We watched a lot of video, and I know we got better.”
With the NBA schedule being so condensed, it can be difficult for teams to find practice time during the season.
“We’re trying to rest them, you’re trying to also teach at the same time, but the practice time has been so minimal since we started playing games,” Beilein said.
Without adequate practice time for a young team, it can be difficult fully implementing defensive principles. The Pistons shot 54 percent from the field and 51 percent from three-point range (18-of-35) on Tuesday, led by a season-high 6-for-7 effort from beyond the arc by Blake Griffin. Griffin finished with 24 points and four rebounds. Drummond contributed 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Although the Cavs haven’t had as much success as Beilein had probably hoped for thus far, he says he has been prepared for the results.
“I really knew what I was getting into and I expected this, just like when we came to Michigan, when I went to West Virginia, when I went to Canisius, Richmond and all those places, it was coach, you’re in for a long, long first year,” Beilein said. “And I look back at those times and say, that’s probably where I learned more about coaching and were some of the most rewarding years we had with the small victories we had.”
POSTED 12/03/2019 21:49