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Wrap-Up With some key players still nursing nagging injuries as the regular season rapidly approaches, the Wine & Gold wrapped up their preseason with a 129-100 loss to the Pistons on Friday night at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University.
The Cavaliers will get another crack at the Pistons in the Wolverine State in less than a week. On Friday night, Coach Tyronn Lue just wanted to get his team into the regular season at full strength.
Without the services of Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. along the front line, Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin were dominant down low through the first three quarters – and that turned out to be the difference as the Cavaliers fell for the second time to end their preseason run with a 2-2 mark.
The Cavs featured five players in double-figures, led by Rodney Hood, who did most of his damage from the stripe.
Hood notched 21 points in just over 22 minutes of work, going 4-of-13 from the floor but 11-of-12 from the stripe – adding four boards and an assist.
George Hill followed up with 14 points and did shoot the ball well – netting 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including a 3-of-5 showing from beyond the arc, adding four boards, a pair of assists and a steal.
Tristan Thompson came off the bench to net 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting, grabbing a team-high nine boards to go with two assists and a steal.
Kyle Korver and Ante Zizic were the only other Cavaliers in double-figures – finishing with 11 points apiece. Korver was 3-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line. Zizic hit all four shots he attempted and led Cleveland’s starters with eight boards despite battling foul trouble for most of the night.
The Pistons were led by their All-Star frontcourt of Drummond and Griffin – who combined for 50 points in the win. Griffin was 11-of-17 from the floor and led everyone with 29 points; Drummond added 21 on 9-for-14 shooting, adding a game-high 15 boards.
The Cavaliers stayed close in this one by getting to the stripe – converting on 24 of their 32 free throw attempts. The Pistons only attempted 16 free throws, going 12-of-16 from the stripe.
But while the Wine & Gold had the advantage from the line, Detroit was far superior from a further line – canning 21 three-pointers to Cleveland’s 12 in the lopsided victory.
Turning Point - The Cavaliers were playing from behind almost all night, but used a 13-0 run midway through the second quarter and an 11-4 run late in the third to stay within striking distance – the third-period run cutting Detroit’s double-digit edge to just a single point, 88-87, with under a minute to play in the quarter.
But the Pistons would improve their advantage to six before the quarter’s end and never looked back in the fourth – scoring the first 12 points of the period, extending their lead to 18 points and pulling away for the win.
By the Numbers – .882 … Ante Zizic’s field goal percentage (15-for-17) through four preseason games. In 32 games with the Wine & Gold last year, Big Z led the squad with a .731 (49-of-67) mark from the floor.
Quotable – Coach Tyronn Lue, on getting his team ready for the regular season next week …
”We had a great camp and first game when Kevin (Love) was in the lineup and the second game as well. I thought we had a little momentum. We have to have these three to four days to catch up both offensively and defensively and go from there.”
Up Next - The Cavaliers wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 2-2 mark and will begin the 2018-19 regular season with a pair on the road – facing off against the Raptors on October 17 in Toronto and the T-Wolves two nights later in Minneapolis. Cleveland’s home opener is slated for October 21 against the Hawks with a back-to-back against Brooklyn at The Q the following Wednesday and a trip to the Motor City to face the Pistons the following night.