LeBron James has plenty of fond memories of playing in Detroit.
Last night he and the Cavaliers christened the Pistons new arena with a 116-88 rout of Detroit to win their fifth consecutive game.
In just their 17th game of the season the Cavaliers used their seventh different starting lineup on Monday night. However, from the opening tip, this starting five made a statement.
LeBron dominated much of the first quarter, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the opening frame. After the horn sounded at the end of the quarter, Cleveland held a 36-23 lead.
One reason for the Pistons slow start could have been the fact that last night was their third game in four nights. From the outset the Pistons lacked energy and the Cavaliers capitalized.
Detroit thus far has been one the surprises the Eastern Conference, entering the game against Cleveland at 11-5. However, Monday night was far from their best performance.
Reasons can be given as to why Detroit did not play well. They were coming off a road trip, which showed in their performance all game long. At this point in the season though, Cleveland does not care. A win is a win.
More of the same happened in the second quarter for the Cavaliers, they continued to play smothering defense and take the life out of the Pistons offense. As a result Detroit scored just 46 points in the first half.
On the offensive end for the Cavaliers, they continued shooting the ball exceptionally well. Their 73-point first half was their second highest scoring half this season, behind their 74-point half at Washington a few weeks ago.
Unlike Detroit, Cleveland came into this game well rested, having last played on Friday night at the Q against the Clippers. Those two days off seemed to make quite the difference.
By the end of the third quarter LeBron and the rest of the starters donned their warmups and took a seat on the bench. The Cavaliers were up 101-62 and in firm control of the game.
Through three quarters the Cavaliers starting front court of James, Kevin Love and Jae Crowder nearly outscored the entire Pistons roster. The trio scored 55 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out 12 assists.
Cleveland’s defense held rebounding machine Andre Drummond in check all game. The six-year veteran leads the NBA this year in rebounds, at nearly 16 per game. Drummond managed to grab just eight rebounds and score only eight points.
As a whole the Pistons offense sputtered throughout the game. Their leading scorer this season, Tobias Harris, was Detroit’s high point man with only 11.
By the end of the game, the Cavaliers had a 116-88 victory under their belt and walked off the new floor in Detroit winners of five straight games.
Jose Calderon, who had been less than impressive thus far with the Cavaliers, finally performed well in a wine and gold uniform. Calderon scored 14 points (4-5 from the floor, 2-2 from beyond the arc) and was a +15 for the game.
With both Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas, the Cavaliers top two point guards, still both out with injuries, Cleveland needs at least some production from that position.
If last night is any indication, Calderon can at least hold down the position until Thomas and Rose return.
Through their first 17 games, this is the best Cleveland has looked as an overall team. From the opening seconds the wine and gold maintained control of the game and never let the Pistons get into any sort of rhythm.
Cleveland’s defense, which has taken a lot of criticism throughout the season, was on point all game long.
The same can be said with the Cavaliers offense. Often times the ball movement is lacking, but it was not last night. The ball movement last night was picture perfect, which led to the Cavaliers getting quite a few open looks at the rim.
Now the Cavaliers will look to continue their momentum tomorrow against the Hornets at the Q. Cleveland will being going for their sixth consecutive victory.
It will be interesting to see what Cleveland team shows up tomorrow night, so far this year home games have not exactly been kind to the Cavaliers. However, if the team that took the floor last night shows up, Charlotte could struggle just like Detroit.
Cleveland is finally piecing together some wins, and when their injured players make their returns, this team will once again take the East by storm.