Pistons vs Cavaliers Game Preview - Dec. 3, 2012
A matchup with last-place Cleveland on Monday night would appear to give the Pistons a good opportunity to accomplish that goal, but the Cavaliers have proved a little more competitive lately.
Detroit (5-13) dropped to 1-10 on the road with a pair of double-digit losses this weekend, but now it opens a three-game homestand looking to win five straight at The Palace of Auburn Hills for the first time since Nov. 29-Dec. 12, 2009.
The Pistons, though, will likely need a better shooting performance to secure that victory. They hit 34.1 percent from the field in a 92-77 loss to Dallas on Saturday. Combined with its effort in a 90-78 defeat to Memphis on Friday, Detroit missed nearly 100 shots (58 of 157) and was 9 of 37 from 3-point range over the weekend.
"We missed 29 shots within two feet of the basket. We've got to make those shots," coach Lawrence Frank said following Saturday's loss. "We just have to have more resolve. This was a game that could have gone either way."
The Pistons haven't had such problems in Detroit lately as they've topped 52.0 percent shooting in each of their last two home games and four of five. They've made a stellar 44.8 percent of their 3-point attempts on their own floor this season (43 of 96).
Detroit will try to continue that success against Cleveland (4-13), which is 2-9 away from home. The Cavaliers, though, snapped an eight-game road losing streak Friday with a 113-111 win over Atlanta, then nearly earned back-to-back victories for the first time this season when they returned home the next day.
They led Portland by two with 2.5 seconds to go in double overtime, but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to hand them a 118-117 loss.
"We just have to continue to play hard and keep trying and eventually we'll get it done," said Alonzo Gee, who tied a career high with 22 points to lead eight Cavs in double figures.
Cleveland had won four straight over the Pistons before losing the final two meetings last season, shooting a combined 34.5 percent. Detroit won 116-77 at The Palace on April 17 in the most recent matchup as Brandon Knight scored a career-high 28 points on 11-of-12 shooting.
Knight averaged 22.8 points on 69.2 percent shooting in last season's four matchups. The second-year point guard had a team-best 20 points Saturday and is averaging 18.7 over the past six games - Detroit is 3-3 in that span - after scoring 10.7 per game during the team's 2-10 start.
It's unknown if the Cavaliers will have top draft pick Dion Waiters available after the guard left in the second overtime Saturday with an ankle injury. He's third among rookies with 15.2 points per game.
Anderson Varejao dislocated his right ring finger in the opening quarter, but he returned midway through the next period and recorded his eighth consecutive double-double (19 points, 17 rebounds).
Varejao has played in only one of the Cavaliers' last seven games against the Pistons.