Cleveland Cavaliers vs Detroit Pistons; Cavs Win 107-90
That’s 10 in a row for the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Detroit Pistons in the NBA Playoffs. It’s the longest active win streak any NBA team has against another in the playoffs. Game 2 was not nearly competitive as game 1, as the Cavs ran away late to a 107-90 victory.
From the opening possession, it was clear Pistons’ coach Stan Van Gundy emphasized getting Andre Drummond more involved in the offense. Drummond scored 13 points in game 1, but the offense rarely went through him. In game 2, Drummond’s early activity near the basket led to Tristian Thompson picking up 2 fouls in the first 3 minutes of the game. Kevin Love went to the bench with his 2nd foul just minutes later.
Van Gundy was fined $25,000 for criticizing the officiating in game 1, specifically LeBron James bullying his way to the hoop and the fine appeared like a good investment early on. Detroit attempted 20 free throws in the first half while Cleveland only attempted 1. LeBron was less aggressive going to the basket than he was in the 1st quarter of game 1, attempting just 3 shots in the quarter.
Detroit led by as many as 10 in the 1st, but Kyrie Irving kept the game close by scoring 13 of Cleveland’s first 15 points. Irving scored a playoff career high 31 in game 1 and his hot touch carried over, making 5 of his first 6 shots including his first 3 from 3-point range. By the end of the quarter, the Cavs resorted to hacking Drummond due to his poor free throw shooting, just 52% this season. The Pistons led 28-23 after the 1st, but they could have easily led by more provided Drummond shot better than 1-6 from the line.
The 2nd quarter opened with an alley-oop dunk by LeBron and it was symbolic of how he was about to take over offensively. The Cavs went on a run to take a 39-32 lead, led by 10 points from Lebron who led all scorers with 16 at the half. The Pistons rallied by getting out on the break when given the opportunity, but primarily by pounding the ball inside to Drummond. Detroit only trailed 55-53 at the half and Drummond led them with 15 points despite shooting 3-12 from the line. JR Smith hit 5 first half 3’s and in addition to his 15 first half points, also contributed a couple of his trademark knucklehead plays, such as a variation of a reverse clothesline attempt on Reggie Jackson and booting the ball out of bounds with no defender in sight.
It took 6 ½ quarters, but finally the series began to resemble a traditional #1 vs. #8 in the NBA Playoffs. 19 year-old Stanley Johnson seems like a defender suited to disrupt LeBron’s game, as he’s a 6’7” 245-lb. gifted athlete with young legs, but about the only thing he accomplished defensively was igniting a fire in LeBron as he backed down the rookie for a fade-away jumper. That was followed by a 3, extending the Cavs’ lead to 10.
Speaking of fire, JR Smith continued his hot shooting finishing the quarter with 21 points. He hit 7-9 3’s in the game before air-balling his final 2 attempts. The Cavs had a comfortable 14 point lead heading to the final quarter.
The Pistons started the 4th with only one starter on the floor, but simply did not have the bench production they did in game 1. Prior to all-out “garbage time,” the Pistons had 11 points off the bench. That won’t be enough to beat the Cavs, as it’s not even enough to keep them competitive.
Drummond was more involved and led Detroit with 20 points, but it wasn’t remotely enough. LeBron led Cleveland with 27, supported by 22 from Irving and 16 from Love, as the Cavs’ Big 3 took a 2-0 lead in the series.
(Cleveland Cavaliers vs Detroit Pistons)