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Three Keys: Cavaliers vs. Pistons

Keys to the Game presented by: Key Bank

Key: Home Sweet Home

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As the six-game homestand reaches its final two contests, the Wine & Gold will try to get back in the win column after dropping three-straight to close the month of November – welcoming Andre Drummond and the Pistons to town on Tuesday night.

After going 4-5 to start the season, the Cavaliers have dropped nine of their last ten – including a Friday night defeat at the hands of the league’s hottest squad – spotting Giannis and the Bucks a 22-point edge before rallying back to get within three in the fourth quarter. But Cleveland – which handed out a season-best 32 assists in the loss – couldn’t get a late rebound and dropped their second decision to Milwaukee this season.

The Pistons – who’ve also struggled of late, dropping eight of their last 11 – are coming off a big home win over the Spurs – notching a season-high 132 points in the lopsided win. In that victory, Detroit’s bench combined for 75 points, lead by journeyman forward Christian Wood, who doubled-up with 28 points and 10 boards.

Even though the Pistons won their last decision at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the Cavaliers took the previous five contests. In those five wins, the Wine & Gold canned at least 11 three-pointers in each, averaging 114 points per while shooting 45 percent from deep and 83 percent from the stripe.

Key: Big Man Battle

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There’s no current player in the NBA more dominant on the boards than Detroit’s Andre Drummond, who’s having another outstanding season in Detroit.

The eighth-year man from UConn is once again leading the NBA in rebounding (17.1) – over two boards better than his next-closest competitor (Houston's Clint Capela). This season, Drummond has already posted seven games with at least 20 rebounds and has failed to record a double-double in just two games so far this year.

Drummond has posted prolific numbers since his arrival in the NBA. He’s the league’s all-time leader in seasons (4) with at least 1,000 points, 1,000 boards, 100 steals and 1,000 blocks. He’s posted 36 games of 20 points and 20 boards. And he’s registered more double-doubles (376) than any other player since he entered the league in 2012-13.

Tristan Thompson gives up some size on an almost nightly basis, but he really needs to get into giant-killer mode for Drummond.

But the former Longhorn has posted a pretty strong season of his own at the quarter-turn. On Friday night, Thompson tallied his 11th double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points, a game-high 13 boards and three assists. With his 10th rebound of the night, Double-T joined LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Brad Daugherty as the only Cavaliers in team history to have grabbed 5,000 career rebounds.

Larry Nance Jr. will also be asked to pitch in down low on Tuesday – trying to continue his recent roll as well. On Friday night, Nance had his double-double streak snapped a three, but still finished with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to go with nine boards and a block.

Key: Substitute Teachers

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Despite starting just a single game this year, Derrick Rose comes into Tuesday’s contest fourth on Detroit in scoring (16.3ppg).

The former Cavalier and former league MVP has had a career renaissance since his Chicago days – and seems to have found a home with Dwane Casey’s Pistons. Through his first 15 games this year, Rose has scored in double-figures in all but two – posting four 20-point outings to go with a 31-point effort earlier this season against the Sixers.

Rose has posted two double-doubles on the season, including Sunday’s win over the Spurs in which he led both teams with 10 assists in just under 19 minutes of work off the bench.

But it wasn’t Rose who did the most damage off the bench in Detroit’s win. That honor went to Christian Wood, who posted his eighth double-figure outing of the season with a season-high in scoring (28) and rebounds (10).

The Cavaliers have a dynamic bench scorer of their own – the Conference’s reigning leader, in fact – with Jordan Clarkson.

Clarkson slowed down in the previous two games, but tallied 51 combined points the two contests before that – netting 28 in Cleveland’s win over the Blazers and 23 more in their nail-biter against the Nets. In 11 games against the Pistons, the sixth-year man from Mizzou has failed to score double-digits only once.

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