GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Pistons

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Kyrie Irving
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cavs and Detroit Pistons square off tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (10-16) is 5-1 in the last six games at The Q. Over that stretch, the Cavs are outscoring opponents 103.7 to 97.8, while holding foes to just .415 shooting from the field, including .325 from the three-point line. They have also held opponents to under 100 points in nine of 12 contests at home where they are 8-4 on the season.

In addition, Cleveland has scored at least 107 points in five of its last six games. Their 106.5 points per game average over that stretch is the 8th-highest in the NBA (since Dec. 10).

Detroit (13-16) enters tonight's matchup on a two-game losing streak after falling to the Houston Rockets 114-97 on Saturday night in the Motor City. On the road, the Pistons have won six of their last seven.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Andrew Bynum

Pistons: PG - Brandon Jennings, SG - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF - Josh Smith
PF - Earl Monroe, C - Andre Drummond

Injuries: (Cavs) - Dion Waiters, (Right Wrist Tendinitis, Out)

(Pistons) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In four games against the Detroit Pistons during the 2012-13 regular season, the Cavs averaged 47.5 rebounds per game, including 16.5 boards on the offensive glass. Those offensive rebounds led to an average of 16.5 second chance points in the series. Cleveland grabbed at least 20 offensive rebounds twice against Detroit last season.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 78-116 against Detroit (51-46 Home, 27-70 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Attacking the Basket

Detroit has a big-bodied frontcourt that can clog the paint. Free agent pickup, Josh Smith, has been a solid shot blocker throughout his career, but as a result, he can be susceptible to picking up fouls.

With those factors in mind, the Wine and Gold should look to attack the basket in an effort to get to the charity stripe.

The Cavs have shot a combined .917 (33-36) from the free throw line in the last two games.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

As mentioned, Detroit's strength is in their large frontcourt.

Greg Monroe and Josh Smith have recorded at least 20 points and 10 rebounds 29 times and 28 times, respectively, since the 2011-12 season.

Joining Monroe and Smith in the frontcourt is second-year big, Andre Drummond. Drummond is enjoying a breakout season and has recorded seven consecutive double-doubles, which tied for third most by a Piston since 1996 when Grant Hill recorded 10 consecutive double-doubles. On the season, the former UConn Huskies standout is averaging 13.2 points and 12.6 rebounds.

Defending the Detroit's three big man will be the Wine and Gold's own big-bodied trio including Andrew Bynum, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

Andrew Bynum is averaging 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block in 26.0 minutes over the last three contests.

Tristan Thompson is one of three players in the Eastern Conference who is averaging at least 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Anderson Varejao leads all NBA bench players in rebounds per game at 9.2 as a reserve. He comes into tonight’s contest just 10 offensive rebounds away from passing Jim Brewer (1,292) for 3rd place in franchise history. Varejao is also 10 defensive rebounds away from passing Larry Nance (2,494) for 6th place in the team’s record books. In his two appearances against the Pistons in 2012-13, Varejao averaged 16.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 38.0 minutes per game.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 219

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check cavs.com for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Programming Note

Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Pistons game (7:00 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Hurricanes game (7:00 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

Available Ticket Offers

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs welcome the Atlanta Hawks to The Q on Thursday, December 26th at 7:00 p.m. ET.