Cleveland Cavaliers – 104
Detroit Pistons – 81
After sleepwalking through the last few games, the Cleveland Cavaliers were a nightmare for the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. The wine and gold fell to a quick 6-0 deficit, but dominated from that point forward, ultimately winning, 104-81.
Kyrie Irving stole the show, scoring 25 points on just 15 shots, adding 11 assists with zero turnovers—the biggest disparity in the NBA thus far in 2016-17. No. 2 had the whole bag of tricks this evening, showcasing the best handles in the league to create space and score with that quintessential Irving kiss off the glass.
And when the Pistons defense would converge, he’d find teammates for easy buckets.
It wasn’t just Kyrie getting in on the fun. LeBron James had 21 points on 14 shots, Kevin Love recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds,1 J.R. Smith was three-for-six from three in his return from an ankle injury, and Tristan Thompson had a breakout game with 14 rebounds and four blocks. Tristan has had a quiet year in terms of points, but has nearly doubled his block rate from his career average and is grabbing a career high percentage of available rebounds. His 4.1 percent block percentage is good for 13th in the NBA, ahead of even Draymond Green.
The Cavaliers improve to 10-2 and sole possession of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, as the second-place Atlanta Hawks lost to the Charlotte Hornets. The Pistons fell to 6-7. Let’s look behind the box score on this game and around the league.
99 – Minutes for the bench unit. Before the game, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy praised David Griffin’s ability to add talent around the Cavs’ Big 3.
30 – None of the Cavaliers starters played 30 minutes in this game. With LeBron resting Wednesday night and no game until next Wednesday, the Cavaliers will get a nice break. Their next road game isn’t until November 27 vs Philadelphia.
.625 – Iman Shumpert’s TS% going into this game. This is the best mark of any Cavalier that has played over 100 minutes this season. It’s also much better than his career .492 mark. There will obviously be some regression, but Shumpert’s offense (including his passing) has been a pleasant surprise this season.
6 – The Cavs’ starting five’s NetRtg this season, compared to 12.4 last year. The starting unit just hasn’t dominated the way it did the previous season. Every starter had a +/- above 20 in this game, showing just how dominant they can be (and how much they may have missed J.R.)
14.7 – The Clippers’ NetRtg. It’s hard to ever believe in these guys after years of flirting with contention and fizzling out, but they look incredible so far.
1 – The number of games Jrue Holiday has played this season. Holiday missed the first part of the season to be with his wife after she gave birth to their child in September and had surgery to remove a tumor in her brain the following month. It’s wonderful to see him back on the court and to know his presence is a sign that his family is in a good place.
- Love, with 21.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per night, is quietly one of two players in the NBA averaging 20 and 10 on the season (Anthony Davis). [↩]