Opponent Scouting: Cleveland Cavaliers. (17-53)

Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be on the road to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons are on the second night of a back to back after beating the Raptors, while the Cavs are on one day of rest after losing to Dallas.

The Them:

The Cavaliers have been not totally terrible since the break but they have still been bad. Kevin Love is still really good and shot the ball really well, although he is questionable for tonight’s game. If he plays he gives the legit offensive fulcrum that lifts the Cavaliers from “horrible'“ to “just normal bad” so it makes a big difference. Beyond Love, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellevadova, and Larry Nance are all ruled out.

With all the injuries, the Cavaliers will be led by rookie Colin Sexton. Sexton is still not all that good, he isn’t an efficient scorer and has a ton of work to do as a passer, but he’s a good athlete who is aggressive and is shooting the ball better than expected. Also competes on defense. Cedi Osman continues to be in a role that’s too big for him but still looking the part of a swiss-army knife type wing.

Ante Zizic can score in the post but not a ton else, Brandon Knight is here and he’s actually looked fairly ok! Jordan Clarkson is a spark-plug scorer off the bench. Nik Stauskas still looks like he’s at least a semi-capable wing player. David Nwaba is a tough defender, Marquese Chriss can jump very high.

If Love misses this game with all the others who are already confirmed out, this team should be totally terrible. So bad that the Pistons should roll even with Blake getting the night off. If Love plays then there is a universe where they have enough life to do some things.

Matchups to watch:

  • Kevin Love vs. Playing: Said it above but really this is kind of it. If he’s out they are barely an NBA team. Even with him the Pistons should handle this game with ease but if he’s out anything less than a blowout would be disappointing. (although the Pistons are not in a position to worry about how they get a win)

  • Pistons vs. Colin Sexton: With all the injuries, Sexton is kind of the threat man. He’s explosive enough that if the Pistons show up sleepy and tired he could cause issues.

  • Reggie Jackson vs. Doing his thing: Blake is out. Don’t screw around. Jackson and Drummond should run about 100 pick and rolls tonight, hopefully Jackson has it going.

  • Luke Kennard vs. Bouncing back: Brutal outing yesterday as he was swallowed up by the long arms of Pascal Siakam on his way to a single shot attempt in 28 minutes. Hopefully he can get his swagger back and get some shots up (and hopefully in)

  • Pistons vs. Not making me very sad: Even with Love the Pistons should still win easily. If Love doesn’t play they should blow them out. If they lose there will definitely not be a recap because I will be in my room contemplating a lot of life choices.

So in conclusion…

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • The Pistons are up by 20 at halftime.

  • Drummond has a double double by halftime.

  • No starters play in the 4th quarter.

Run for the hills if:

  • Kevin Love plays and is really ready to go.

  • The Pistons look tired after a close win yesterday.

  • The game is close in the 4th.

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Reggie Jackson scores 30 points in 3 quarters.

  • Andre Drummond gets 20/20 or is on pace for one if he gets to play enough.

  • The Pistons win by 20+

What do you think? Will the Pistons take care of business?