Cavaliers vs Pistons Game 1 Recap; Cavs Victorious 106-101
The Cavs and the Pistons had their 2016 playoff debut on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the Cavaliers vs Pistons Game 1 Recap.
The Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25) enter the playoffs as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a healthy “Big 3”, home-court advantage, momentum, playoff experience and nearly every other advantage, suggesting they will plow through the first round as easily as LeBron James’ drive to the basket against, well, anybody in the first round. LeBron is 10-0 in first round playoff series in his career.
For the #8 seed Detroit Pistons (44-38), this is their first playoff appearance in 6 years. Reggie Jackson is the only Pistons’ starter with any playoff experience on a balanced team where all 5 starters average at least 14 points. Could they be more than just a speed bump in LeBron’s road to a 6th consecutive NBA Finals appearance?
The Pistons were far more than a speed bump, more like a post-winter pothole that Rust Belt fans from both cities can relate to. Detroit made the Cavs sweat out a 106-101 victory. The young Pistons were not intimidated as they came out on fire hitting 10-16 3’s in the first half.
Despite all the Pistons’ youth, the NBA Playoffs are often when veterans you barely remember are in the league can play key roles. Steve Blake? Yes, the 36 year-old guard still plays and he played well off the bench. Blake’s 5 first half assists helped orchestrate 14 Piston bench points en route to a 39-33 lead. Marcus Morris had 19 first half points to lead to Detroit to a 58-53 halftime lead.
Kevin Love was involved early and often for Cleveland, as he had 18 first half points. LeBron had 6 first half assists and 12 points, on 6-10 shooting in the paint. When it came to physically dissuading drives to the basket, the 2016 Pistons did not exactly resemble the legendary Bad Boys teams. Lebron didn’t even attempt a free throw until there was only 8 minutes left in the game.
Kyrie Irving came out hot in the second half and his 8-0 run gave the lead back to Cleveland. The 3rd quarter was quite a battle of tug and war. After 18 ties and 16 lead changes, the underdog Pistons took a 78-76 leading into the 4th.
Detroit extended the lead to 7 in the opening minutes of the 4th, matching their biggest lead of the game. Then Richard Jefferson, speaking of vets you may have forgot about, hit a 3 and assisted on Matthew Dellavadova’s 3 in back-to-back fashion.
Morris disappeared for Detroit in the 2nd half, scoring just 1 point. LeBron’s battering on the block post up of Reggie Jackson with just over a minute left put the Cavs up 6. His subsequent battering of a Jackson shot with 30 seconds left all but sealed the game.
LeBron finished with yet another great playoff performance, 22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Irving led all scorers with 31 points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led a balanced Piston offense with 22 points.
The Cavs may have found something going forward in the series playing Kevin Love at the 5 position. Andre Drummond prefers to protect the basket and was not eager to chase Love out beyond the arc, which resulted in Love hitting a couple late 3’s.
However, Stan Van Gundy has these Pistons well-prepared for this uphill battle. Hopefully the remainder of the series will be as competitive and entertaining as Game 1 was.
(Cavaliers vs Pistons Game 1 Recap)