GameDay Preview: Cavs at Pistons

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Alonzo Gee, Kyle Singler
J. Dennis/Einstein/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (13-33) take on the Detroit Pistons (17-29) tonight to begin their 15th back-to-back set of the season. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tonight is the third of four regular season meetings between the two Central Division rivals.

The Cavaliers have won three of their last four games and four of the last six since Jan. 16. During their recent 3-1 stretch, the Cavs are averaging 100.5 points per game on .470 shooting, while tallying at least 27 assists in three of the four games.

For Detroit, center Greg Monroe and point guard Brandon Knight spearhead the Pistons inside/outside attack. Monroe leads the team in points (15.7) and rebounds (9.1) per game.

Knight has given the Wine and Gold problems this season, averaging 23.5 points and 6.0 assists including a career-high 30 points (23 in the second half) to lead the Pistons to a 104-97 win over the Cleveland in their last matchup.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Pistons: PG - Brandon Knight, SG - Rodney Stuckey, SF - Kyle Singler
PF - Jason Maxiell, C - Greg Monroe

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out), Daniel Gibson, (Right Great Toe Sprain, TBD), Luke Walton, (Sore Left Foot and Ankle, Questionable)
(Pistons) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Pistons, 114-78, posting a 51-45 mark in games played at home with the Pistons tallying a 69-27 record in games played in their home arena. Dating back to Feb. 1, 2009, Cleveland holds an 11-6 mark against Detroit, including 6-3 at The Q and 5-3 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

In the last matchup on Dec. 8 at The Q, the Cavs outrebounded the Pistons 46-35, including grabbing a season-high tying 20 offensive rebounds that led to a 31-20 advantage in second chance points.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Rebounding
The Cavs have grabbed 20 offensive rebounds in each of the two games against Detroit this season. Overall, they outrebounded the Pistons, 49.5 to 42.0, including 20.0 to 12.5 on the offensive end. Cleveland’s strong advantage on the offensive glass has led to a combined 45-31 edge in second chance points in the series.

The Pistons rank ninth in the NBA in rebounding compared to 27th in 2011-12. Detroit averages 43.5 rebounds per game, a +3.2 difference from last season.

Whichever team can control the glass will increase their chances of coming away with the victory.

Key Matchup

Cavs backcourt vs. Pistons backcourt
The Pistons were involved in a three-team trade this week, and most notably acquired point guard Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors.

Calderon, along with the aforementioned Brandon Knight, have both been thorns in the Cavaliers' side. Jose ranks second among guards in the NBA shooting .526 (72-137 FG) from the field in the month of January. Furthermore, he has scored 10-plus points in 12-of-14 games in January and has currently scored in double figures in six straight games (Jan. 18-28).

With that being said, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, C.J. Miles and the rest of the Cavs backcourt will have to put their main focus on the defensive end tonight.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 205, Sirius 113, NBA League Pass Audio