Cleveland (32-12) at Detroit (25-21)
When: Friday, January 29th 2016
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: FSN Ohio, FSN Detroit
The Detroit Pistons will get the top two teams in the East this weekend which begins Friday when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons returned from a 2-2 road trip to take out Philadelphia 110-97 on Wednesday. All-Star center Andre Drummond bounced back from a couple of poor outings and recorded 25 points and 18 rebounds in the victory. He was 1-for-14 from the foul line in the two previous games, but made the Sixers pay for fouling him by hitting 7-of-12. “It was great to see him knock down those free throws and make the 76ers reluctant to guard him and do the ‘Hack-A-Dre’ (Wednesday),” Detroit guard Reggie Jackson told reporters. Drummond scored 25 points and had 18 boards and went 5-of-9 from the line in a 104-99 home win over Cleveland on November 17th. Jackson led all Pistons with 27 points against Philadelphia after putting up 29 the previous game at Utah. Detroit is 8 games behind Cleveland in the Central Division and currently owns the 6th seed in the East. They are just a game and a half out of the three-seed, but also three games from being out of the playoff picture. They will start a three-game road trip after tonight that starts at the second best team in the East – Toronto.
The Cavaliers have a new coach and a new style of play. Cleveland fell to the Chicago Bulls in Tyronn Lue’s head coaching debut but averaged 114.5 points in running Western Conference pushovers Minnesota and Phoenix off the floor in the last two games while adapting to changes to the system. Cleveland recorded a season-high 34 assists in Wednesday’s 115-93 win over the Suns, with James handing out a team-high nine. The superstar forward took only eight shots in the game but hit seven en route to 21 points and is on board with Lue’s philosophy. “It was a very efficient night for myself, but the ball was moving and it doesn’t matter who is shooting or taking shots,” James told reporters. Kevin Love broke 20 points for just the second time since before Christmas when he poured in 21 and grabbed 11 rebounds against Phoenix. The new system will be tested big time in the next three games beginning tonight in Detroit and tomorrow night at home against San Antonio. The Cavaliers will have a day off Sunday before playing at Indiana on Monday night.
The Pistons got the better of Cleveland here in November as Drummond dominated the boards. This will be a closely-contested game with the outcome coming down to the final minute. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Pistons +4.5