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Wrap-Up -- After dropping four home games since the All-Star Break and with a six-game road trip tipping off this week, the shorthanded Cavaliers really needed a good effort on Monday night.
They got exactly that – dropping a division rival in familiar fashion on their home floor, taking another one-sided decision over the Pistons, 112-90, on Monday night at The Q.
The Cavaliers were without Tristan Thompson, who sprained his right ankle on Saturday night against Denver, Jeff Green, who’s out with a sore lower back, and Kevin Love, who fractured his left hand the last time these two teams met in Detroit on January 20.
Those frontcourt losses could’ve spelled doom against the league’s top rebounder, Andre Drummond, and five-time All-Star, Blake Griffin.
Instead, the Cavaliers dominated the glass and the paint – and Larry Nance Jr. had the best game of his career in his first start as a Cavalier.
Nance, the high-flying scion of the Cavaliers great by the same name, was outstanding subbing for Thompson in the middle – tallying a double-double by halftime and finishing with career-bests with 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting and a game-high 15 boards, adding a pair of steals in the win.
The Cavaliers as a team manhandled Detroit on the inside – outrebounding the Pistons, 53-40, while outscoring them in the paint, 40-26, and on second-chance opportunities, 19-10. Cleveland also held Stan VanGundy’s squad scoreless on the fastbreak – outrunning the Pistons, 14-0.
LeBron James topped the 30-point mark for the sixth time in his last eight games – leading both squads with 31 points, going 11-for-17 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from long range and 4-of-6 from the stripe, adding seven rebounds, seven assists and a steal.
Rodney Hood replaced Cedi Osman in the starting lineup and finished with 13 points – going just 4-of-12 from the floor but 5-for-5 from the stripe.
Cedi Osman still performed well in a reserve role – adding 12 points, going 5-of-11 from the floor to go with six boards and a pair of assists.
Jordan Clarkson and Kyle Korver tallied 11 points apiece – each player (plus Ante Zizic, in his longest run of the season) finishing with six rebounds off the bench.
LBJ leads the way with 31 points in the Wine & Gold winner.
The Pistons were led by Blake Griffin, who netted 25 points, eight boards and five assists in the loss. All-Star big man Andre Drummond, who finished with 21 points and 22 boards in the last meeting between these two, was never a factor on Monday night – finishing with 15 points and nine boards to snap his 18-game double-double streak.
Turning Point -- After a nip-and-tuck first half at The Q, the Wine & Gold simply took over the game in the third quarter.
Blake Griffin’s three-pointer got the Pistons to within a touchdown, 61-54, with 9:13 to play in the period. And that would be the last time Detroit got within single-digits of the Cavaliers the rest of the way.
LeBron James would proceed to score the Wine & Gold’s next ten points – bookended by a pair of long triples from the top of the arc to put the Cavaliers up 17. Cleveland would proceed to extend its lead to 20 late in the fourth and by as many as 25 in the final period.
By the Numbers – 23.5 … average margin of victory by the Cavaliers over the Pistons in their last four meetings at The Q. Over the course of that four-game run, the Wine & Gold have shot .517 from the floor and .463 from beyond the arc; holding Detroit to .374 and .333, respectively.
Quotable – Larry Nance Jr., on containing Andre Drummond on Monday night …
”My whole gameplan tonight – I didn’t care if I had zero rebounds tonight; I just wanted (Drummond) to have zero as well. He could do all he wanted defensively, I just didn’t want him getting anything offensively.”
Up Next -- Following their five-game homestand, the Wine & Gold get back on the road – embarking on a six-game, 12-day trip beginning with a rematch against the Nuggets on Wednesday night in the Mile High City. They head to Tinseltown for a pair over the weekend – squaring off with the Clippers on Friday night and the Lakers on Sunday evening. From there, it’s a Tuesday night meeting against Devin Booker and the Suns followed by a visit to Portland to take on Damian Lillard and the Blazers. Cleveland closes out the extended junket when they take on the Bulls next Saturday night in Chicago.