Opponent Scouting: Cleveland Cavaliers. (2-12)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will (finally) be back in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams are on a ton of rest.
The Cavs are terrible. Like really terrible. They have the 26th ranked offensive efficiency in the NBA by scoring 104.2 points per 100 possessions, and the worst defense in the NBA by allowing 112.8 points per 100 possessions. This gives them the 27th net rating in the NBA at -8.7 points per 100 possessions.
Kevin Love is still hurt, George Hill is hurt, so is Sam Dekker and I believe Kyle Korver.
Rookie Colin Sexton is exciting and showing promise as a starter. He’s a good athlete who can slash to the rim and tries hard on defense, but has all the pitfalls of a young point guard with lots of turnovers, poor outside shooting, and mental mistakes on defense. Cedi Osman is still a nice jack-of-all trades types but he’s pretty clearly being overstretched right now and his efficiencies are horrendous. Tristan Thompson is actually having a bit of a revival in the early season. He’s averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds, and doing it fairly efficiently. Rodney Hood has at least found his jumper although he hasn’t been overly involved. JR Smith is probably not good anymore, Jordan Clarkson can score but does so little of anything else that he may actively hurt your team when he’s on the floor. Larry Nance can jump very high and plays hard but not a whole lot else.
It’s ugly. As long as Colin Sexton doesn’t fall too hard on rookie struggles he should continue to provide at least some light to the Cavs, he had 24 points last time out. Tristan Thompson revival is fun and could also be really good for the franchise if he could come close to a positive trade asset or simply stick around as a workable big man to pair with Sexton while he develops. They are Cedi Osman getting back into decent form away from getting to the level of being terrible but not totally worthless, right now they are pretty worthless though.
Matchups to watch:
Drummond vs. Thompson: Pretty clear. Drummond is much better than Thompson, but Tristan is a tough rebounder who will play hard the entire night. Drummond should be able to handle this matchup but he will have to work, and it’s probably the only matchup that doesn’t look like a total wash in the Pistons favor on paper.
Blake Griffin vs. Whatever the Cavs do: He will probably go against Larry Nance. Nance will put up some resistance but not much, and there will be little help. The Cavs terrible defense should be easy pickings for Griffin.
Jackson vs. Sexton: Once again, Sexton is a rookie and even good rookies do little things that hurt the team. That said, Sexton’s brand of tenacious athleticism could give Jackson some trouble on both ends if he isn’t careful.
Pistons vs. Not making everyone very sad: Tons of rest, at home, against a terrible Cavs team. Following the win over the Raptors there are some good vibes here. Lets not kill them all.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Blake Griffin is scoring at will.
The Pistons as a whole are scoring at will.
The starters are all out of the game in the 3rd quarter.
Run for the hills if:
Colin Sexton has a breakout game.
The Pistons are not scoring almost at will.
It is within 10 points in the 4th quarter.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Drummond gets 20/20 if he plays long enough.
Reggie Bullock hits many threes.
Colin Sexton scores 20 points.
The Pistons come out strong and never look back.
Pistons 134 - Cavs 110.
What do you think? Can the Pistons put them away? Can the Cavs contain Griffin?